NEW YORK (WETM) — The High School Regents Examination Program is canceled for January 2022 due to the rise in COVID cases. According to State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa, this applies to all Regents exams scheduled for the January 2022 Regents Examination period.

The New York State Department of Education (NYSED) said decisions have not yet been made regarding the June and August 2022 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,” Commissioner 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.”

NYSED said they will ask the Board of Regents to approve modifications to the assessment requirements that high schoolers need for diplomas, credentials, and endorsements. These modifications would apply to all students completing a secondary-level course or make-up program in January who are scheduled for one or more of the January Regents.

“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,” Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said.

And a statement from New York State United Teachers, the state’s largest teachers union, echoed that sentiment. “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,” read a statement from NYSUT. “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.”

To limit negative effects on students, NYSED will also ask the Board of Regents to adopt emergency regulations on ordinary assessment requirements for students to earn their diplomas. Proposed emergency regulations would exempt those students from having to pass a corresponding Regents.

To qualify for the exemption, students need one of these requirements by the end of the first semester of the 2021 to 2022 school year:

  • Be enrolled in a course that would ordinarily culminate with a January 2022 Regents Examination and earn credit for such course of study
  • Complete a make-up program to earn course credit
  • Be prepared to take a required Regents Examination to graduate at the end of the first semester

NYSED is developing more guidance and will release an FAQ in early January on topics like safety net options, mastery, honors, and technical endorsements so that schools may determine which diplomas to grant to their graduates.