COVID-19 Guidance for Educator Preparation Providers

ODHE Guidance related to Ohio Administrative Code Provisions for Educator Preparation Providers

 

March 20, 2020

The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) recognizes that efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 are impacting the duration of clinical experiences (field, student teaching, and internship placements) and this places EPP programs and students at risk of not meeting requirements outlined in Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) (for instance, OAC Rule 3333-1-05 requires that a student complete a minimum of one hundred clock hours of field experience prior to student teaching and a minimum of twelve weeks of student teaching for initial teacher licensure). We are therefore temporarily offering flexibility in meeting the number of weeks and/or hours required for Education Preparation Program (EPP) students whose clinical experiences have been impacted by the COVID-19 virus.

ODHE recognizes that each EPP is in the best position to understand the unique needs of its students and the disruptions that have occurred to their educational experiences as a result of the unprecedented efforts to curb the spread of the virus. Consequently ODHE is providing flexibility for each EPP to design a plan to help students meet the expected outcomes of those clinical experiences, using the basic guidance provided below.

An EPP with students who will not meet OAC minimum requirements will be required to notify ODHE of the strategies used to ensure that students achieve the expectations and outcomes associated with their clinical experiences. This notification will take place later this semester (see notification information at the end of this document). Please note that the documentation submitted to ODHE is for notification purposes only; EPPs do not need to seek ODHE approval as long as the plans align with the guidance provided below.

 

ODHE Guidance

Each EPP should provide alternative experiences and/or assignments and instruction as appropriate to ensure that expectations and outcomes for each student’s clinical experience are met. The opportunities may include, but are not limited to, virtual learning, designing lessons and units of instruction, selecting and implementing instructional strategies, teaching lessons and content, assessing learning to evaluate student progress and inform instructional decisions, creating a supportive learning environment, managing the classroom effectively, and other appropriate activities.

EPP students who have made satisfactory progress through at least 50% of the required number of weeks and/or hours associated with their clinical experience and who can demonstrate sufficient mastery of the accompanying outcomes through alternative experiences provided by the EPP will be eligible for licensure recommendation. However, any EPP student not making satisfactory progress or not having completed at least 50% of the clinical experience will not be eligible at the end of the semester, but should be given the opportunity to extend their clinical experience, using available options, such as a grade of Incomplete. It is up to the discretion of each EPP to determine the best path forward for remediating students who have not made satisfactory progress or who have not completed at least 50% of their clinical requirements at the end of the semester.

 

ODHE Notification

You will be receiving a survey at the end of April from our office requesting summary information on your plan and basic information regarding the number of students affected. Your responses to the survey will be due by June 1, 2020. The survey responses are for documentation purposes only—they will be used in the future for state authorization and accreditation purposes. Please submit the necessary notification to EdPrep@highered.ohio.gov and do not hesitate to reach out to us should you have questions or concerns about this guidance document or the survey.

 

Addendum

 

March 31, 2020

On March 20, 2020, the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) issued guidance to educator preparation providers (EPPs) allowing flexibility for students completing clinical experiences during the spring term. That guidance addressed placements that were already underway, but were disrupted by school closures and other efforts put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

This addendum is designed to address the clinical placements of students who have not yet begun their clinical experiences—those students who were planning to begin their clinical experiences during late spring or summer terms.

ODHE is temporarily allowing educator preparation programs flexibility regarding the number of field experience hours or weeks that candidates must complete in order to be eligible for an education license or endorsement.  Educator preparation programs may provide alternative instruction, experiences and assignments that will allow students to demonstrate mastery of expected outcomes as an alternative to the traditional field experiences.  Students who successfully complete the alternative experiences will be eligible for licensure and endorsement recommendations.

 

ODHE Notification

Consistent with the previous guidance, you will be asked to complete a survey from ODHE summarizing your plans and providing general information on the number of students affected.  That survey will be sent at the end of April and your responses to the survey will be due by June 1, 2020.  In the survey, you will be asked to provide information regarding both your spring term and your summer term plans.  The survey responses are for documentation purposes only—you do not need to seek approval for your plans from ODHE.