Tupelo • The Mississippi State Board of Education suspended several policies to manage the impact of extended school closures due to COVID-19 for the 2019-20 school year, including certain graduation requirements and the amount of required instructional time for Carnegie unit credit.

Current seniors who meet all district and state requirements may graduate this school year, the Mississippi Department of Education said. The requirement that students take end-of-course assessments in Algebra I, English II, Biology and U.S. History has been suspended for seniors because these assessments cannot be administered in spring 2020. Students are still required to earn a minimum of 24 Carnegie units to graduate.

MDE suspended the requirement of the minimum of 140 hours of instruction required for each Carnegie unit of credit offered and 70 hours for each one-half unit offered. School districts will determine a process for awarding a Carnegie unit credit for courses that are incomplete for the 2019–2020 school year.

MDE determined that current third-graders will be promoted to fourth grade for the 2020-21 school year if the student meets all other district requirements for promotion.

In addition to waiving the requirement that schools have a 180-day academic year last week, the MDE suspended the requirement for 330 minutes of instruction per day from March 16, 2020, the first date of school closures due to COVID-19, through the date classes resume following the state of emergency.

Districts will not be required to monitor and submit student referrals for attendance violations, of compulsory school-age students, after March 16, 2020, the first date of school closures due to COVID-19, through the date classes resume.

SBE also eased requirements for educator licensure candidates and those seeking admission to traditional or nontraditional educator preparation programs.

Candidates seeking admission to an SBE-approved traditional or nontraditional educator preparation program on or before Dec. 31, 2021, are exempt from the educator preparation program entry testing criterion. The exemption will extend through the 2021 calendar year to mitigate the impact of a prolonged suspension of candidate testing nationwide, MDE said.

Spring 2020 educator licensure candidates will no longer need to meet the minimum of 12 weeks of full-day student teaching to become licensed. The MDE said it will continue to work collaboratively with Education Preparation Providers to determine the acceptable experiences necessary for student teaching and demonstration of teaching competency prior to licensure.

blake.alsup@journalinc.com

Twitter: @AlsupTheWriter

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