January Regents exams cancelled due to COVID-19

Happy black teacher giving exam paper to her student while wearing protective face mask in the classroom.
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The January Regents exam has been canceled after New York State Department of Education officials determined the exam could not be “safely, equitably or fairly” administered amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Interim Commissioner of Education Betty A. Rosa announced on Thursday. 

“Whether they are engaged in in-school, hybrid or remote learning, we are committed to ensuring each of New York’s students has access to the rigorous coursework necessary to prepare them for success this year and beyond. The cancellation of the January Regents Examinations will not impact that priority,” said Board of Regents Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown.

New York City high schoolers scheduled to take any Regent exams in January of 2021 will be exempt from any requirements of passing regents exams in order to receive their diplomas, just like in June and August when exams were also canceled due to the pandemic. The Board of Regents has yet to make a decision on whether to cancel exams in June or August of next year. 

“Throughout the pandemic our priority has been the health and wellbeing of our students and educators,” said Interim Commissioner Rosa in a statement. “ We will continue to monitor applicable data and make a decision on other state assessment programs as the school year progresses, being mindful of the evolving situation.”

The Board of Regents provided a list of requirements students need to meet in order to be exempt from regent exam related graduation requirements. High schoolers may be exempt from taking any Regents exams if they are enrolled in a course of study that would normally end in taking a January 2021 Regents exam and would earn credit for that course by the end of this fall semester.  Students who complete a make-up program for the purposes of earning course credit during this fall semester are also exempt from sitting for a January 2021 Regent exam as well as those preparing to take a required Regents exam to graduate by end of this fall term. 

“In the interest of safety, equity and fairness, canceling the January Regents exams is the right choice,” said New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta. “We applaud Interim Commissioner Rosa, the Board of Regents and the State Education Department for putting students first with changes to state exam requirements that still allow them to achieve a diploma without being penalized  during the pandemic.”

Regents exams that students have been given an exemption for due to COVID-19 will not be included in any calculations used for determining Honors or Mastery level distinctions on diplomas. If a student scores an average of 90 or above on all Regent exams applicable to their diploma type they will be able to receive honors on that diploma.