NYSED – Guidance on CTE Credit During COVID-19 Closure

April 22, 2020

By: Kristin Warner

On Monday, April 20, 2020, the Office of Career and Technical Education (OCTE) in the New York State Education Department (NYSED) released updated guidance with respect to three areas affected by the COVID-19 school closures: Work-Based Learning Programs (WBLs); Appearance Enhancement and Barbering Programs; and Driver and Traffic Safety Education (DTSE) Programs. 

Work-Based Learning Programs:

In this newly issued guidance, the OCTE confirmed that the provision on “Earning Course Credit and Meeting Unit of Study Requirements” contained within the Preliminary Guidance on the Preparation for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak in New York State, issued by NYSED on March 13, 2020, did indeed apply to WBLs. This provision stated that any student who achieved the learning outcomes and met the standards assessed in the coursework of a particular course should earn the appropriate credit regardless of whether s/he reached the 180-minute per week unit of study requirements. 

What this means for WBL programs: Local districts may use discretion to waive some or all of the WBL hours normally required for the four New York State registered programs: Work Experience Career Exploration Program (WECEP); Career Exploration Interest Program (CEIP); Cooperative Career and Technical Education Work Experience Program (CO-OP); and the General Education Work Experience Program (GEWEP). The districts may also waive other locally developed WBL requirements. These hours may be waived so long as the student has achieved the applicable Learning Standards for Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS), i.e., 1: Career Development; 2: Integrated Learning; and 3a: Universal Foundation Skills.

Appearance Enhancement and Barbering Programs:

All students in Appearance Enhancement and Barbering Programs are still required to complete the required course content and hours specified for their content area (see 19 NYCRR Part 162). These programs include nail specialty, esthetics, natural hair styling, cosmetology, waxing, nail specialist trainee and barbering. 

However, the OCTE is now allowing distance learning methods to be utilized but only if the instructor can verify and record each student’s completion of the required content and hours. It is the responsibility of the school district to ensure that students are provided all of the required units and topics of instruction necessary for the completion of the course and preparation for licensing examinations. 

Driver and Traffic Safety Education Programs:

The OCTE also offered guidance on the requirements for students enrolled in DTSE courses during the Spring 2020 semester. The OCTE advised school districts to, as of now, operate under the assumption that classes will resume on May 18, 2020 and that the districts will be responsible for making up the required classroom instruction following the students’ return to school. The OCTE recommends that each district look to its own DTSE course make-up session policies to ensure that the 24 hours of classroom instruction required are completed on time. 

The OCTE further advised that, should it become impracticable for districts to complete the classroom instruction as a result of statewide closures due to COVID-19, the district may allow its students to finish both their classroom and laboratory instruction during the Summer 2020 or Fall 2020 semester. 

If you have any questions regarding the information contained in this client alert, please contact Kristin Warner, any of the attorneys in Bond’s School Law Practice, or the attorney at the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.