COVID-19 Guidance for ASPIRE

Updated March 18, 2020

Distance Education

Q: Can we change how we count distance hours during this crisis? Could students report hours they work in workbooks or other assignments that don’t fit our current guidelines?

A: No, student time working in workbooks or other materials does not count as distance learning instructional hours. If that is the only option to keep students engaged, let them work in workbooks, but the hours cannot be counted. We are adhering to the current policy of only reporting instructional hours for distance learning online. That can take many different forms and our office will be offering a lot of PD and technical assistance to help teachers get started. This Friday, 3/20, we will be providing a webinar about DE options. Details coming soon.


Q: Has any thought been given around TABE and CLAS-E testing? Could we administer online assessments from a distance during this emergency?

A: At this time, TABE 11/12 and CLAS-E cannot be administered remotely.

From Mike Johnson, National Adult Education Director - TABE & TASC -Data Recognition Corporation: Insight currently utilizes a lockdown browser and needs to be installed prior to testing so that is one step that might cause an issue and managing test security for remote testing.  

The good news is that DRC is looking into remote testing. DRC also can provide CLAS-E training online. I’ll get more information and keep you updated when that training option is available.

Q: Should we admit new students without testing?

A: We are in unique times and must be flexible without jeopardizing quality. Keeping the students’ best interest in mind, you can admit students without standardized testing. In order to target instruction, you will need to assess the students’ skill levels through informal assessments such as utilizing the assessments built into online curriculum, teacher-created tests, self-checklist of skills, etc.

We will be providing a webinar next Monday regarding Remote Orientation. Details coming.

Data Entry

Q: Can I do remote data entry from my home?
A: Yes.  However due to FERPA, Aspire policy, and privacy concerns, you must make some modifications.

What modifications do I need to make?

Forms: Student folders should not be transported to staff member’s homes, but some forms can be transmitted electronically.

  • Registration and RIF - the state office will be releasing modified registration form and RIF that can be transmitted electronically and used for initial data entry.
  • Attendance records may be transmitted electronically with ABLELink ID and student name. 
  • Assessments scores may be transmitted electronically with the ABLELink ID as the only identifier.
  • Progress and Exit Forms will be addressed at a later date.

Transmitting Information: For security purposes, transmit information without any identifying information except the student’s ABLELink ID.  Teachers can access the ABLELink ID through Teacher ABLELink.

Downloading reports: Limit downloads of reports to non-agency machines to attendance and student short. Set teachers up with Teacher ABLELink so that they can access information for their own students.

What can’t I do?

You may not electronically transmit or maintain records off-site that contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII) other than directory information.  PII is information that can be used to identify an individual or distinguish one person from another.

Ohio Aspire has included the following as directory information for use with distance education:  student name; address; phone number; email address; date of entry into the program; classes and teachers; entry and progress levels; dates of attendance, hours, and attendance status; and course of study. 

Social Security Numbers; assessment scores, including HSE; demographic information; and any information about anyone a student lives with is not directory information and is protected by FERPA.


Q: Can Aspire staff be paid while they are not working? (this question and answer is the same that was posted 3/16/20)

A: The response from our OCTAE coordinator:  In 200.431 Compensation-fringe benefits, the Uniform Guidance allows for pay for administrative leave (that is of course if your teachers are allowed admin leave under their local policies).  Remember that they have to go by their local written policies that are already established but this citation supports the allowability of paying for admin leave.

Please check with your local administrators first and keep the questions coming if they are unsure.

Q: Do we have permission to loan Aspire-purchased laptops to students who may not have computers at home but may be able to get internet access?  

A: That too will be up to your agency administrators.  If you do not have an agency policy regarding loaning laptops, now would be an ideal time to establish one. I’m not advocating for or against loaning computers, just that you establish a policy and procedures.

Q: With staff doing more PD at this time, our admin cost may go up. Is that allowable?

A: Just like we are asking the programs to be flexible, the state office will be flexible too. We know your programs will be significantly impacted by this crisis and we will adjust accordingly.