School Closure FAQs
This information is continually updated. Information is current as of 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, 2020.
- Will copies of birth certificates be accepted for school registration during this time?
- How will I complete my driver's education requirements?
- How will schools provide a continuity of learning during school closures?
- Why does my school/district plan look different than others?
- Why are some districts/charters starting sooner than others?
- How much time should my children be spending on school work while home?
- What do families without Internet or computer access do?
- Will remote learning work be graded?
- How will I complete my behind-the-wheel driver education requirements?
- Will students be promoted to the next school year? Will they have to go to summer school?
- Do students in the class of 2020 have to meet all of the state and locally determined graduation requirements?
- Will schools be able to hold graduation ceremonies?
- What is the last date students may complete graduation requirements to be considered a Class of 2020 graduate?
- Will College Board administer Advanced Placement (AP) exams this year?
- How will students complete dual enrollment courses?
- Will students still receive articulated college credits?
- How will students complete their work-based learning coursework?
- Will students still be able to earn industry-recognized credentials?
- Will Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) hold their state leadership conferences, national conferences, or other events during the school closure?
- How will students receive their Certificate of Multiliteracy?
- How will my child receive a free and appropriate education (FAPE) during this period of remote learning? Will my child get services like speech, occupational and physical therapy that are part of his/her IEP?
- Will summer school sessions be extended to help qualifying special education students make up some of the lost instructional and therapy time?
- Will the state administer 2020 spring state assessments?
- How will the state calculate school accountability for the 2019-2020 school year?
- How will the Delaware Performance Appraisal System (DPAS) for educators be impacted due to school closures and the assessment waiver submitted by Delaware?
- How will Component V be calculated this year?
- What does the fiscal K-12 Education Funding waiver authority allow?
- What is the process for a district/charter to apply to DDOE for one or more of these waivers?
- Do districts/charters have to request a waiver if they don‘t need one?
- Is a budget amendment required? If yes, what is the process for amendments?
- Do districts/charters have to follow federal funding and expenditure guidelines?
- How can the districts/charters provide input on these waivers?
- Whom should district/charter staff contact if they have questions or need assistance?
Q: Will copies of birth certificates be accepted for school registration during this time?
A: Each district and charter school determines the documents they require for school registration. Most have a process in place outlining which alternate documents they will accept for proof of age and identity.
Q: How will I complete my driver's education requirements?
A: Due to social distancing, the behind-the-wheel instruction portion of driver education is unable to be completed at this time. DDOE will provide additional clarification as we work through this process.
Q: How will schools provide a continuity of learning during school closures?
A: In his March 23, 2020 letter on school closures, Governor Carney directed schools in Delaware to remain closed through May 15 and shared that districts and charters were working with their staffs to create remote instruction plans so students can continue to learn during the COVID-19 crisis. Remote learning occurs when the learner and instructor, or source of information, are separated by time and distance and therefore cannot meet in a traditional classroom setting. While information is typically transmitted via technology so that no physical presence in the classroom is required, it can occur through worksheet packets and other instructional models.
DDOE has provided districts and charter schools with remote learning guidance to support continuity of learning in Delaware schools. Districts and charter schools were required to submit their remote learning plans to DDOE by Friday, April 3, 2020. Plans should account for the completion of 1060 hours (grades K-11), 1032 hours (grade 12) and 188 teacher days no later than June 30, 2020. Learn more about Delaware’s remote learning plan requirements. Review all district and charter school remote learning plans.
Q: Why does my school/district plan look different than others?
A: Both before and during this time of school closure, each charter and school district provides learning experiences in a variety of ways. In developing remote learning plans, school communities considered multiple factors to best meet the needs of their students and families. Factors included, but were not limited to, internet and technology access, student learning styles and developmental characteristics, the needs of English learners, and students with Individual Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 plans. Individual districts and charters had to also make local decisions that take into consideration the health, safety, and well-being of all their students and staff members during this unprecedented time. As schools continue with their remote learning implementation, modifications will be made as needed.
Federal stimulus money as well as the support of DDOE and the Delaware Department of Information and Technology will help to increase access to internet access and devices across the state. The continued support from families and local stakeholders is appreciated as well.
Q: Why are some districts/charters starting sooner than others?
A: Delaware districts and charter schools determine their own schedules and calendars. Additionally, some districts and charters may already have additional hours built into their calendars for snow days, which were not used this year because of the mild winter.
Q: How much time should my children be spending on school work while home?
A: Remote learning should take place via a combination of educator-directed learning and student self-directed learning. The individual student experience will vary depending on student age, individual and family needs, access and capacity for remote learning (including access to technology and internet), and the ongoing health of students, families, and staff. Educators should consider ways to focus on relationships and connections, not just content. Educators, students and families should not expect that remote learning will replicate the traditional school day. Districts’ and charters’ remote learning schedules will vary.
Q: What do families without Internet or computer access do?
A: Families should contact their district or charter school to discuss internet and computer access needs. A number of free and low-cost internet options are available at de.gov/covid19edu. Some districts and charter schools are also providing families with technology to assist remote learning. Federal stimulus money as well as the support of DDOE and the Delaware Department of Information and Technology will help to increase access to internet access and devices across the state.
Districts and charter schools have developed remote learning plans that take into consideration students who may not have internet or computer access. For questions about a specific district or charter school plan, view the remote learning plans.
Q: Will remote learning work be graded?
A: Each district and charter school determines how they grade students during this period of remote learning. Grading decisions vary to allow flexibility in meeting the individual district and charter’s policies, practices, and submitted remote learning plans. To the extent possible, teachers should provide feedback on student work completed at home. DDOE has provided grading recommendations to incentivize continuous learning while acknowledging the challenging situation we face.
Q: How will I complete my behind-the-wheel driver education requirements?
A: Due to the current social distancing guidelines, behind-the-wheel instruction cannot be completed at this time. Schools can resume behind-the-wheel training when social distancing restrictions are lifted by the state. The students currently enrolled in driver education will be given every possible opportunity to complete the behind-the-wheel portion of the program upon return or when social distancing guidelines allow. Districts/charters will make local decisions about potential summer driving opportunities, if necessary.
Q: Will students be promoted to the next school year? Will they have to go to summer school?
A: Students on track to be promoted to the next grade level will be promoted by their district or charter school following the completion of the 2019-2020 school year. Districts and charter schools will determine options - including potential summer school - for students who were not on-track for grade promotion before the extended school closure began.
Q: Do students in the class of 2020 have to meet all of the state and locally determined graduation requirements?
A: The Delaware Administrative Code, Title 14 Education, establishes a minimum set of requirements for graduation from Delaware high schools.
Districts and charters have the authority to adjust existing local graduation policies. Due to the school closure, it is expected that districts and charters will enable students to complete state and local graduation requirements with needed flexibility regarding the mode of delivery, type of assignments and grading policies. As with any other school year, students who have not met graduation requirements will be eligible to return for a fifth year.
Q: Will schools be able to hold graduation ceremonies?
A: In his March 23, 2020 letter on school closures, Governor Carney directed schools in Delaware to remain closed through May 15. In the event students do not return before the expected end of school year and/or we are not able to gather in large groups in time for graduation, alternatives to a traditional graduation are being researched and planned by individual districts and charters to celebrate the class of 2020.
Q: What is the last date students may complete graduation requirements to be considered a Class of 2020 graduate?
A: Students completing all graduation requirements by September 15, 2020 will be considered class of 2020 graduates. This will allow time for students to complete summer school, online courses, work-based learning, or any other requirements needed for graduation.
College and Career Preparation
Q: Will College Board administer Advanced Placement (AP) exams this year?
A: No, traditional face-to-face Advanced Placement (AP) exam administration will not occur this year. Students may take a 45-minute online free-response exam on devices at home for most courses. Note that there may be a decrease in the amount of content that will be included.
- Each course will have two test date options - see the AP exam schedule.
- Exams will be accessible on any device (computer, tablet, smartphone). Taking a photo of handwritten work will also be an option. College Board has released additional details about taking the exams here.
- College Board is providing many free resources to teachers and students, including free daily online practice in AP Classroom and live online classes and review sessions posted on the Advanced Placement YouTube Channel. The course schedule for live streaming and links to the libraries of videos for each course are available here.
- College Board is working to ensure students have tools and connectivity needed to review AP content and take the online exams. Students who need additional support should visit this page.
- Colleges will accept the scores from these AP exams, just as they would from any other AP exam administration.
For the latest updates and additional details, visit the College Board’s information for schools and for students.
Q: How will students complete dual enrollment courses?
A: Colleges will contact dual enrollment teachers directly and those districts/charters with whom they have partnerships. Students who have not yet heard from their schools regarding dual enrollment courses, should contact their schools directly.
Q: Will students still receive articulated college credits?
A: The determination of articulated college coursework is based on a:
- student earning credit for career and technical education (CTE) coursework in eSchool,
- letter grade attainment of a “B” or higher (or the numeric equivalent), and
- student meeting requirements outlined in the institution specific articulation agreement.
As districts/charters determine their local grading policy to close the 2019-20 school year, the CTE workgroup will verify students who earn articulated credit based upon student attainment of high school CTE credit, and will consider letter grade attainment or a pass/fail designation as well as agreement specific criteria.
Q: How will students complete their work-based learning coursework?
A: DDOE recognizes that current circumstances will impact student completion of work-based learning programs, especially for students who are placed in community, clinical, healthcare, and non-essential service settings. Districts and charters are encouraged to develop local policy relative to student work-based learning placements this academic year. There is an opportunity to prioritize student completion of work-based learning portfolios to ensure that this documentation can be applied as credit for prior learning at the postsecondary level or with an employer.
Q: Will students still be able to earn industry-recognized credentials?
A: Districts and charter schools are encouraged to establish local policy relative to student attainment of industry-recognized credentials this academic year. Please note that an assessment, practicum/skill-based experience or combination of both can serve as the attainment of industry credentials. Credential providers will issue guidance on the implementation/administration of credential assessments directly to educators and districts/charters. DDOE will collect and post this information. For questions or additional information, contact Nicole Lawless at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Will Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) hold their state leadership conferences, national conferences, or other events during the school closure?
A: In light of COVID-19, Career and Technical Student Organizations (CSTOs) are making difficult decisions about national conferences, state competitions, and more. To help stay up-to-date on the status of these events, Advance CTE has created a spreadsheet with the most recent information compiled from email correspondence, social media posts, and website scans. This CTSO Response Tracker will be updated as needed.
Q: How will students receive their Certificate of Multiliteracy?
A: The Delaware Department of Education recognizes the impact that school closures across the state have on students being able to qualify for and to receive a Delaware Certificate of Multiliteracy. The following actions have been put into place to mitigate this impact for the 2019-20 school year (dates may be subject to change):
- Extended deadline from May 1/July 15 to June 1/August 15 for students to apply for the Certificate and for school counselors to enter the applications into eSchool. The DOE will process certificates after June 1. Certificates will be sent via state mail to counselors by June 15. For applications received after June 1 but before August 15, Certificates will be processed and mailed to counselors. If the student is a senior, his/her certificate will be mailed to his/her home address.
- Seniors who are intending to use the IB exam as the world language assessment for the Certificate may enter IB as the Assessment option and leave the date blank. According to International Baccalaureate, exam scores will be issued based on teacher assessment scores of completed course work. The date may be added in eSchool when these assessment results are returned from IB before August 15.
- Seniors who were intending to take the AP exam as the world language assessment for the Certificate will be able to do so on the modified schedule provided by the College Board (roughly May 18-22). The results are expected by May 26.
- For students in grades 9-11 who may already have credentialed their proficiency in a world language, but because of changes to the administration of statewide assessments, such as ACCESS, PSAT and SAT, may not have been able to demonstrate English proficiency, these students are encouraged to wait to apply in the following year.
- Medallions for seniors who have qualified for the Certificate and whose applications have been entered into eSchool by June 1 will be mailed to school counselors by June 15. For seniors who apply after June 1, medallions (along with their certificates) will be mailed to their home addresses by the end of August.
Special Education Services
Q: How will my child receive a free and appropriate education (FAPE) during this period of remote learning? Will my child get services like speech, occupational and physical therapy that are part of his/her IEP?
A: DDOE understands that, during this national emergency, schools may not be able to provide all services in the same manner typically provided. While some schools might choose to safely, and in accordance with state law, provide certain Individualized Education Program (IEP) services to some students in-person, it may be unfeasible or unsafe for some institutions, during current emergency school closures, to provide hands-on physical therapy, occupational therapy, or tactile sign language educational services.
Many disability-related modifications and services may be effectively provided online. These may include, for instance, extensions of time for assignments, videos with accurate captioning or embedded sign language interpreting, accessible reading materials, and many speech or language services through video conferencing. It is important to emphasize that federal disability law allows for flexibility in determining how to meet the individual needs of students with disabilities. The determination of how FAPE is to be provided may need to be different in this time of unprecedented national emergency.
Please contact the district/charter special ed director/supervisor/coordinator to discuss your child’s IEP.
Q: Will summer school sessions be extended to help qualifying special education students make up some of the lost instructional and therapy time?
A: If a district or charter school provides educational opportunities to the general student population during a school closure, the school must ensure that students with disabilities also have equal access to the same opportunities, including the provision of a free and appropriate education (FAPE). Schools must ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, each student with a disability can be provided the special education and related services identified in the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) developed under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).
During Covid 19, there may be exceptional circumstances that could affect how a particular service is provided. When schools open once again, the IEP team and, as appropriate to an individual student with a disability, the personnel responsible for ensuring FAPE to a student, would be required to make an individualized determination as to whether additional services are needed.
Q: Will the state administer 2020 spring state assessments?
A: Testing has been suspended this school year for the spring English language arts (ELA), mathematics, science and social studies summative assessments. Testing has been suspended for the alternate assessments. The SAT make-up date was suspended. Students who missed the SAT make-up date will be eligible to test in the fall. For more information, see the DDOE spring testing update.
On March 24, 2020, USEd approved Delaware’s assessment, accountability waivers to waive certain requirements in section 1111 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) related to assessment and accountability requirements.
Q: How will the state calculate school accountability for the 2019-2020 school year?
A: On March 24, 2020, USEd approved Delaware’s assessment, accountability waivers to waive certain requirements in section 1111 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) related to assessment and accountability requirements. School accountability ratings (DSSF) will not be calculated for SY19-20, and no schools will be identified for TSI-2 in November 2020. Data for SY19-20 assessment and accountability will not appear on state and local report cards. For more information on how the wavier affects schools currently identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI), please see additional accountability FAQs.
Q: How will the Delaware Performance Appraisal System (DPAS) for educators be impacted due to school closures and the assessment waiver submitted by Delaware?
A: DDOE has released guidance on educator evaluations (DPAS II) for completing the 2019-2020 summative evaluations. Please review this guidance to learn more about specific changes.
Q: How will Component V be calculated this year?
A: Due to the recent approved federal waiver to suspend the state assessments, educators will not have assessment results to calculate Measure A goals. As a result, any activity required as part of the roster verification system (RSV) for all administrators, teachers and specialists is not to be completed for the 2019-2020 school year. Please review the educator evaluation (DPAS II) guidance to learn more.
Q: Will there be a spring sports season if schools resume in May?
A: DIAA Board of Directors approved a modified regular spring sports season contingent upon the Governor lifting the State of Emergency and public schools reopening on May 18th. The modified regular spring sports season dates will be May 26-June 20. DIAA will continue to monitor COVID-19 and adjust the guidelines set by DIAA Board of Directors as the situation presents.
K-12 Education Funding Waivers
Q: What does the fiscal K-12 Education Funding waiver authority allow?
A: The waivers allow spending flexibility and support continuity of services due to the school closures. Through these waivers, the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) would be able to approve a district or charter to:
1. Carry over more than 15 percent of its Title I, Part A funds, even if the district/charter had received approval to exceed this limitation in the past three years. 2. Extend for itself and its subgrantees the period of availability of FY 2019 funds for programs including Title I Parts A-D, Title II Part A, Title III Part A, Title IV Parts A and B, Title V Part B, and McKinney-Vento to allow additional time to obligate those funds (September 30, 2021).3. Permit a district/charter or consortium of districts/charters to use its Title IV, Part A funds to best meet its needs without regard to content-area spending requirements, spending limits on technology infrastructure, or completing a needs assessment. 4. Waive the definition of professional development, DDOE and subgrantees would be able to conduct time-sensitive, one-time or stand-alone professional development focused on supporting your educators to provide effective distance learning.
Q: What is the process for a district/charter to apply to DDOE for one or more of these waivers?
A: The process for districts/charters to apply for waivers will be the same as the current waiver process. Districts/charters will be supplied with a sample template letter that they will drop into their letterhead to be signed by their school leader or superintendent. The letter shall be submitted to DDOE for review and approval. An approval letter will be signed by a DDOE representative and returned to the district/charter as approval notification.
Q: Do districts/charters have to request a waiver if they don‘t need one?
A: No, if it is possible to obligate funds on a timely basis or as originally planned, districts/charters do not have to submit a waiver request.
Q: Is a budget amendment required? If yes, what is the process for amendments?
A: Maybe. If there is a major programmatic change or the amount if the expenditure exceeds the amendment threshold, then districts/charters would have to submit an amendment request form. The form, process, and rules for submitting amendments are located here - https://www.doe.k12.de.us/domain/552.
Q: Do districts/charters have to follow federal funding and expenditure guidelines?
A: Yes, the state has assured the Office of ESEA that its subgrantees will use these funds under the respective programs and in accordance with the provisions of all applicable statutes, regulations, program plans and application.
Q: How can the districts/charters provide input on these waivers?
A: DDOE has provided notice of, and the opportunity to comment on, the waiver request on their website and all stakeholders can access by clicking here - https://www.doe.k12.de.us/Page/4199.
Q: Whom should district/charter staff contact if they have questions or need assistance?
A: Questions, comments or assistance can be obtained by calling or emailing the Title Programs and Grants Support Team at 302-857-3385 or at TitlePrograms.Q&A@doe.k12.de.us.