Thursday afternoon, Interim State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced the decision that all January 2021 high school Regents exams have been canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The New York State Department of Education has been in the process of developing emergency regulations that includes requirements for students to meet in order to qualify and earn their diplomas, credentials and endorsements. The Board of Regents is expected to review the plan at the Board of Regents meeting, which takes place in December.

The regulations propose students who are planning to take one or more Regents Examinations during the January 2021 testing after a course or makeup program has been completed, they will be exempt from the requirements of passing the Regents to be given a diploma.

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The students have to meet one of the following requirements, according to NYSED:

  • Be currently enrolled in a course of study that would ordinarily culminate in the taking of a January 2021 Regents Examination and earn credit for such course of study by the end of the first semester of the 2020-21 school year
  • Between September 1, 2020, and the end of the first semester of the 2020-21 school year, successfully complete a make-up program for the purpose of earning course credit
  • Be prepared to take a required Regents Examination to graduate at the end of the first semester of the 2020-21 school year

If students are eligible for an Honors Diploma or Mastery endorsement, and are given an exemption as a result of the pandemic, the January exam period will be excluded from the requirements. If students are eligible for Honors endorsements to a Regents Diploma or a Regents with Advanced Designation, and achieve at least a 90 average on the exams that relate to the diploma type, they will receive the endorsement.

Any exams that have already been exempt due to the pandemic are not included in this proposal to the Board of Regents. There is no word yet on the status of the June 2021 Exams.