ALBANY — Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. cited the “unpredictable nature of the pandemic” as the reasoning behind the state Education Department’s decision to cancel January’s High School Regents Examination Program.
“Educators, school staff, communities, and families have taken painstaking efforts to ensure a safe and healthy school year,” Young shared in a statement on Tuesday, Dec. 21. “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.”
State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced the cancellation due to the ongoing COVID–19 pandemic, applying to all Regents Examinations that had been scheduled for the January 2022 period.
No decisions have been made regarding the June and August 2022 administrations of Regents Examinations or any other state assessment programs.
“New York set a daunting record last week with more COVID-19 cases reported in one day than ever before,” Rosa said. “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.”
The decision to cancel the exams received support from the New York State United Teachers, which issued a statement the same day.
“Given the unevenness of this school year with the pandemic still ongoing and the acute social-emotional needs of our students, canceling the January Regents exams is the right choice. We thank Commissioner Rosa, Chancellor Young and the Board of Regents for recognizing that our educators are still assessing their students, preparing them to receive their diplomas and setting them up for success after graduation without this round of state exams.”
Under proposed emergency regulations, students who were planning to take a Regents exam in January shall be exempt from the requirements pertaining to passing a corresponding exam. But to qualify for the exemption, a student must meet be enrolled in a course that was to have an exam next month, earn credit for such a course, or be prepared to take an exam by the end of the first semester of the 2021-22 school year.