NEW YORK — New York’s high-schoolers will have a more relaxed winter break because the January 2022 administration of the state’s Regents exams is canceled.
However, it will mean adjustments for many, as passing grades on most of the high school Regents Examinations are required for graduation and the results are part of transcripts in college admission applications.
State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said the move is due to rapidly rising cases in the ongoing COVID–19 pandemic.
“I support the decision,” Ossining Superintendent Ray Sanchez told Patch. Ossining High School was one of several schools in New York that switched to remote learning before the winter break due to local impacts of the national surge. “During these challenging times, I believe allowing school districts the flexibility to assess students using local measures is imperative.”
Rosa called the current statewide surge in cases of the highly contagious coronavirus “daunting.”
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In New York, cases of the highly contagious coronavirus have been climbing rapidly since the beginning of November. (New York State Health Department)
“Once again, the January Regents Exams cannot be safely, equitably, and fairly administered across the state,” she said. “We will continue to work with our schools, districts, and stakeholders to ensure they have what they need to provide academic, social and emotional, and mental health supports for our students.”
Modifications to Diploma Requirements
Due to the cancellation, department officials will ask the Board of Regents to approve modifications to the assessment requirements that students must meet to earn high school diplomas, credentials, and endorsements. These would apply to all students who are completing a secondary-level course of study or make-up program in January and were scheduled to take one or more of the January 2022 Regents Examinations.
Regents Examination Exemptions
To ensure students are not adversely affected, department officials will ask the Board of Regents to adopt emergency regulations. Under them, students who were planning to take one or more Regents Examinations during the January 2022 examination period at the conclusion of a course of study or make-up program would be exempt from the exam requirements pertaining to being issued a diploma.
To qualify for the exemption, the student must have met one of these criteria by the end of the first semester of the 2021-22 school year:
Be enrolled in a course that would ordinarily culminate with a January 2022 Regents Examination and earn credit for such course of study;
Complete a make-up program to earn course credit; or
Be prepared to take a required Regents Examination to graduate at the end of the first semester.
The announcement applies to all Regents exams that had been scheduled for January. No decisions have been made regarding the June and August 2022 administrations of the Regents exam — or any other state assessment programs.
“Educators, school staff, communities, and families have taken painstaking efforts to ensure a safe and healthy school year,” Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said in the announcement. “Given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, the recent acceleration in COVID-19 infections, and continuing upheaval the virus has caused in schools across the state, this decision is the right one. New York’s students will continue to have access to high-quality coursework while allowing districts to prioritize the health and safety of our school communities.”
NYSED is developing additional guidance in the form of an FAQ and will issue that guidance in early January 2022 to address topics such as safety net options, mastery, honors, and technical endorsements so that schools may determine which diplomas to grant to their graduates, officials said.