Utah School Board of Education Suspends Year-End Testing, Waives 180-Day School Year

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The Utah School Board of Education released a statement on Thursday that it will suspend statewide testing for the year as well as waive the 180-day school year requirements.

“The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) is waiving certain requirements and suspending statewide assessment in light of national and state declarations of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the board released in a statement. “These actions seek to minimize burden and allow flexibility at the local level to continue education and services in a way that best serves the needs of their communities.”

However, staff will continue to distribute state funding to local education agencies throughout the state.

“Rules to be waived include instructional day and hour requirements, transportation requirements, and extending deadlines for various programs that fall between April and May,” the board shared. “These waivers are effective immediately and in place through June 30, 2020.”

The waivers are conditioned on:
● Following state and local health official orders and timelines for dismissal, soft closure or complete closure of schools;
● Implementing the local education agency’s School Closure Continuity of Education Plan;
● Providing as much notice and communication to students and parents of the suspension and reconvening of school services, including meal services.

The board voted in favor of suspending the requirement for the administration of statewide assessments for this school year.

“The prospect of schools being held accountable to administer required assessments and impacted by the resulting accountability determinations is an unnecessary distraction to the challenges of maintaining a continuity of instructional service, minimizing trauma and stress, and striving to meet the needs of each student,” said Assistant Superintendent Darin Nielsen.

Utah joins more that 35 other states seeking flexibility in federal law requiring administration of statewide assessments.

“We are continuing to prioritize our students, families, and adults that serve them as we work to contain the spread of COVID-19,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson. “This is a defining moment in our state. We need to be unified in our prevention and reaction measures in order to ensure our students and communities can be successful moving forward.”

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