Today, on April 6th, 2020, the Board of Regents Acts released a series of Emergency Regulations and Amendments due to COVID-19. Below, you will find important factors in the full press release here.
School and District Accountability
- One-year waiver from provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) pertaining to State assessments and school and district accountability determinations.
- The Commissioner will not conduct a review of school and district performance using 2019-20 school year data. The accountability status of public schools and districts will remain the same in 2020-2021 as for the 2019-20 school year; and 2018-19 school year results shall be used wherever 2019-20 school year results would have been used for 2021-22 accountability determinations.
- State approved private schools, State operated schools, Special Act School Districts, State supported schools and preschools will not be penalized because they are unable to provide instruction or operate for 180 days where such schools are closed pursuant to an Executive Order of the Governor. The amendments also permit impartial hearing officers to conduct special education due process hearings by video conference during the COVID-19 crisis.
- The amendments also allow hearing officers to extend cases up to 60 days rather than 30 days while schools are closed.
- Preschool providers must still make-up missed services within 30 days of the missed session; however, the amendment allows providers to exclude days that the school is closed pursuant to the terms of the Executive Order(s) issued by the Governor from this 30 days.
- Additionally, the regulations extend the time period to arrange for special education programs and services to be provided where a school is closed
Days where a school is closed pursuant to an Executive Order of the Governor do not count toward the following timelines:
- English language learner identification process timeline;
- Parental notification and information timeline; and
- The English as a New Language/Bilingual Education placement timeline.
For the 2019-20 school year, there will be no English language learner annual assessment
Curriculum and Instruction
- The amendments provide an exemption to students from the unit of study requirements where a student is unable to meet such requirements due to schools being closed
- The Commissioner is permitted to excuse delays of up to 30 days in required reporting and payment by charter schools to public schools for the length of time a school closure is ordered by an Executive Order of the Governor.
- The amendments require charter schools to provide notice on their website of the date, time and place of lotteries for the random selection process for charter school student applicants if such lottery is provided during a school closure.
- These lotteries can be held remotely, provided that the public has the opportunity to view or listen and such lottery is recorded and later transcribed.
- An alternative form of evaluation for students receiving home instruction, in lieu of an annual assessment, will be permitted for all grades in the 2019-20 school year
- Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) training is allowed to be conducted entirely online.
- The amendments create an edTPA safety net for candidates in registered educator preparation programs whose student teaching or similar clinical experience in spring 2020 was impacted by COVID-19.
- The Statement of Continued Eligibility (SOCE) application deadline will be extended for special education teachers who teach a special class in grades 7-12 from June 30, 2020 to June 30, 2021;
- The amendments extend the time period by which full-time, acceptable teaching experience must be completed for the SOCE or limited extension from June 30, 2020 to June 30, 2021.
- The amendments permit public school districts, public schools, pre-kindergarten programs, and charter schools to operate for less than 180 days, and fewer instructional hours than required, without a reduction in State Aid if a school is closed pursuant to the terms of Executive Order(s) of the Governor.
- Regulations will permit Department staff who are unable to conduct their annual visit of nonpublic nursery schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic to do so as soon as practicable.
If you have any questions about these regulations, please don’t hesitate to contact Shari Diamond, Partner, by emailing her at SDiamond@ceriniandassociates.com.
Shari Diamond, CIA
Shari has been with Cerini & Associates, LLP since 2008 where she works primarily with the firm’s school district clients providing internal audit and claims audit services. She has over twenty years’ experience performing internal audits, risk assessments, and compliance reviews, as well as recommending processes to strengthen the internal controls environment while increasing efficiencies. Her prior experience at PWC and Northrop Grumman included performing Information Technology audits.