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VA State Superintendent Requests Waiver for State Tests

| March 17, 2020 | 0 Comments | News

Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane announced Tuesday that the Virginia Department of Education will ask the U.S. Department of Education for relief from federal and state testing requirements to mitigate the impact of of the COVID-19 shut down of schools.

“Given what we are now hearing about the potential duration of the coronavirus pandemic, we now have to seek further flexibility related to state testing.  To do this, the commonwealth must have relief from the annual testing requirements under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act,” Lane said. “Last week, the U.S. Department of Education said it would consider issuing waivers for individual schools impacted by COVID-19. We are beyond that now, and ask our federal partners for a process to grant statewide relief so states and schools can focus on the health and wellbeing of students.”

Most Prince William students have completed the required Writing SOLs, which are typically given in March.

Last week, Governor Ralph Northam ordered a two-week statewide shut down of schools; Prince William County Schools responded by canceling classes until at least April 14 and extending the third quarter until April 17. No new student work can be assigned until at least March 27.

In response to the governor’s order, VDOE has already extended statewide testing windows for all SOL assessments in all subject areas; however, the department is planning for further flexibility.

“This is an unprecedented situation with schools closed statewide for two weeks and the very real possibility of a significantly longer shutdown,” Lane said. “VDOE has advised school divisions of the flexibility they already have to delay Standards of Learning testing, but it is clear that we now have to take additional steps to ensure that schools and students — especially seniors completing their graduation requirements — are not adversely impacted by circumstances beyond their control.”

The state superintendent has also directed VDOE staff to review state laws and regulations related to state graduation requirements to determine what steps must be taken to ensure that seniors who would otherwise graduate this spring are not denied diplomas.

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