“I want students and parents to know that [Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam] and I are committed to taking every step possible to minimize the impact of coronavirus on students and to ensure that our seniors are able to graduate,” Lane said in a statement. “This includes exploring exemptions from requirements unrelated to coursework for students due to graduate this spring.”
Northam (D) announced last week that all of Virginia’s public schools would close for at least two weeks as the nation attempts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Virginia had already instructed school systems that they had the flexibility to postpone federally mandated standardized testing until June. But it’s unclear how long schools will be closed, and Lane said Virginia wants the federal government to grant the entire state a waiver from these federal requirements.
Other states, including Michigan, have made similar requests.
Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, schools are required to test their students in math and reading every year between third and eighth grade. They must also test high school students once.
The U.S. Education Department has said it would considering issuing waivers for some schools.
“Given what we are now hearing about the potential duration of the coronavirus pandemic, we now have to seek further flexibility related to state testing,” Lane said. “To do this, the commonwealth must have relief from the annual testing requirements under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.”
Virginia Board of Education President Daniel Gecker said in a statement that the state board will review its regulations to determine what it can do to dampen the effects that the coronavirus could have on school accreditation ratings.