Regents exams in January have been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the state Department of Education announced Tuesday.

This cancelation applies only to Regents exams scheduled for January. No decisions have been made regarding the June and August 2022 administrations of Regents or any other state assessment programs.

“Educators, school staff, communities and families have taken painstaking efforts to ensure a safe and healthy school year,” said Lester W. Young Jr., Board of Regents chancellor. “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.”

Young said the state’s students will continue to have access to high-quality coursework while allowing districts to prioritize the health and safety of our school communities.

“New York set a daunting record last week with more COVID-19 cases reported in one day than ever before,” said Betty A. Rosa, the state’s education commissioner. “Once again, the January Regents exams cannot be safely, equitably and fairly administered across the state.”

Rosa said the state will continue to work with schools districts to ensure they have what they need to provide academic, social and emotional and mental health supports for students.

At Hinsdale Central School, Principal Laurie Cuddy said they did not have any students who need to take a January Regents exam.

“We did offer students the opportunity to sign up for a Regents, should they desire to improve a previous regents score,” she said. “This opportunity will be available in June — hopefully, these exams will not be canceled.”

Attempts seeking comment from other area principals was not returned by press time.

Due to the cancellation of the January Regents, the state 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 modifications apply to all students who are completing a secondary-level course of study or make-up program in January and are scheduled to participate in one or more of the January exams.

“Given the unevenness of this school year with the pandemic still ongoing and the acute social-emotional needs of our students, canceling the January Regents exams is the right choice,” the New York State United Teachers said in a statement.

To ensure students are not adversely impacted by the cancellation of the exams, the Department will ask the Board of Regents to adopt emergency regulations regarding the assessment requirements students must ordinarily meet to earn a diploma.

Under the proposed emergency regulations, students who are 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 shall be exempt from the requirements pertaining to passing a corresponding Regents to be issued a diploma. To qualify for the exemption, the student must meet one of these requirements 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 exam 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.

(Contact editor/reporter Kellen Quigley at kquigley@oleantimesherald.com.)

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