Spiking coronavirus infections have canceled the state’s January Regents exams for the second consecutive year, Education Department officials announced Tuesday.
The High School Regents Examination Program January 2022 administration canceled next month’s exams, scheduled to take place between Jan. 25 and 28, amid a rising surge of COVID-19 cases across the state and nation.
New coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths are expected to continue to increase over the next several weeks as the more contagious Omicron variant spreads in communities leading up to the Christmas and New Year holidays.
“New York set a daunting record last week with more COVID-19 cases reported in one day than ever before,” State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said in a statement. “Once again, the January Regents Exams cannot be safely, equitably and fairly administered across the state. We will continue to work with our schools, districts, and stakeholders to ensure they have what they need to provide academic, social and emotional and mental health supports for our students.”
Tuesday’s cancellation applies to all Regents exams, or the state-issued standardized tests taken by New York high school students to test proficiency in specific subjects and will impact state tests for the third year running.
The January 2021 Regents exams were also canceled in November 2020 due to concerns of the spreading coronavirus. Most state exams were also canceled in June 2020 and this past June and August.
The Board of Regents plans to propose emergency modifications to high-school diploma assessment requirements because of next month’s cancellation for students to earn their degrees with the proper credentials and endorsements, according to the department Tuesday. Under the proposed changes, students who planned to take Regents exams in January will be exempt from the requirements to pass the exam in order to earn a high-school diploma, as long as they meet certain requirements established by the board.
Students who are exempted from the exam due to the cancellation will not be impacted in their eligibility for Honors or Mastery endorsement on their diploma.
“Educators, school staff, communities and families have taken painstaking efforts to ensure a safe and healthy school year,” Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young Jr. said in a statement Tuesday. “Given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, the recent acceleration in COVID-19 infections, and continuing upheaval the virus has caused in schools across the state, this decision is the right one. New York’s students will continue to have access to high-quality coursework while allowing districts to prioritize the health and safety of our school communities.”
A decision has not been made about the Regents exams scheduled for June and August 2022, according to the state Education Department.
The June exams are tentatively set for June 1, and June 15 to 24. The August exams are tentatively slated for Aug. 16 and 17, according to the Education Department’s website.
The board will continue to monitor data on the pandemic and the virus’ impact on schools before making any decisions on other assessments and exams as the state’s daily COVID positivity rate increased to 9.04% Monday and 7.40% over a seven-day …….