RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Education released guidelines answering vital questions for staff, students and families after K-12 schools closed for the rest of the academic year.
In a superintendent’s memo, VDOE said any 12th- grade student on track to graduate, will graduate on time. Students who are on track will be promoted to the next grade level, the state’s Department of Education said.
The VDOE said they want to ensure that students– regardless of income, access, English learner status, or special needs — are treated equally.
At this time, school divisions are being asked to “provide opportunities for students to make academic progress and continue to learn and grow.”
Superintendents can waive the following graduation requirements:
- Students currently enrolled in a course for which they need a standard or verified credit in order to graduate;
- Students who have successfully completed a course required for graduation, but have not earned the associated verified credit;
- Students who have not completed the student-selected test;
- Students who are currently enrolled in or have previously completed a course leading to a CTE credential necessary for a Standard Diploma but have not yet earned the credential;
- Students who have not completed a United States and Virginia history course; Students who have not completed a fine or performing arts or career and technical education course;
- Students in the second of sequential courses; Students who have not completed an economics and personal finance course.
Students will need the General Assembly, which will convene in April, to waive emergency first aid training and completion of a virtual course, VDOE said.
Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane sent a guidance document to the commonwealth’s 132 school divisions Tuesday saying that high school seniors who were on track to graduate will earn a diploma.
“[Governor Ralph Northam] and I agree that every student who was on a trajectory toward earning a diploma should be able to graduate on time and move on to the next stage of his or her life,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said Tuesday.
Seniors in the following categories will graduate on time:
- Seniors currently enrolled in a course for which they need a standard or verified credit in order to graduate (verified credits are earned by passing a required course and also passing the associated Standards of Learning test);
- Seniors who have successfully completed a course required for graduation, but have not earned the associated verified credit; and
- Seniors who have not passed a required student-selected SOL test;
If a student was enrolled in a cosmetology or master barber course they will be able to take the license exam, as long as their instruction submits a training verification form.
School divisions are being asked to award standard credit to students graduating in 2021, or after, for high school credit-bearing courses in which they have completed the majority of the work.
For students in kindergarten through eighth grade, school divisions should be providing online learning and getting them ready for subsequent courses.
VDOE said school divisions may choose to offer summer school to students who were unable to receive instruction during the extended closure. The department has also issued a guide for parents on in-home learning activities and other topics.
Local school divisions will award grades and determine GPA.
“VDOE recognizes that decisions on grades are a local decision, the VDOE does not recommend grading work completed during the closures since schools are closed,” the state’s Department of Education said.
Information on seat time, SOL testing, accreditation, and other assessments will be available once wavier processes have been completed.
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