EPSB votes to provide COVID-19 flexibility for Kentucky schools

Kentucky Department of Education

News Release

Media Contact: Toni Konz Tatman

Chief Communications Officer

Office: (502) 564-2000, ext. 4602
Cell: (502) 229-1915

Advisory 20-274


Sept. 3, 2020


Education Professional Standards Board Virtual Meeting: September, 2, 2020

EPSB votes to provide COVID-19 flexibility for Kentucky schools

(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) voted at its Sept. 2 virtual meeting to provide additional flexibility for Kentucky’s schools during the 2020-2021 school year.

The first approved item by the board was a request from the Kentucky Association of Colleges for Teacher Education to conduct remote student teaching observations for all educator preparation providers for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters.

“Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the university supervisors are unable to complete in-person observations,” said Allison Bell, branch manager of the Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE) Office of Educator Licensure and Effectiveness.

With the approval of remote observations, the EPSB ensured that educator preparation providers will be able to meet the statutorily-required number of observations, while protecting the safety of the teachers and students alike, said Bell.

Emergency Certifications

The EPSB approved a second issuance of emergency certification for the 2020-2021 school year. Emergency certificates, which usually last just one year, are issued if a district needs an educator to teach outside of his or her certification area and there are no other qualified candidates.

Typically, an emergency certificate is issued only once. However, districts can apply for a waiver of the regulation to issue a second, said KDE Associate Commissioner Rob Akers. 

“This would take away the need for that process,” Akers said. “So, as districts are working through COVID-related challenges for staffing, they could go on and get an extra emergency (certificate) for a teacher.”

Teaching Waivers

The board approved a request to allow elementary teachers to teach up to 6th grade in a separate building. In Kentucky, an elementary-certified teacher already could teach up to 6th grade as long as it was in the same school building.

And finally, for the upcoming school year, middle school teachers will be allowed to teach down to 4th grade as long as the subject is in their same content areas. Similarly, high school teachers can now teach down to 5th grade, with the same guidelines surrounding content areas.

“This is a crisis situation,” said KDE Interim Commissioner Kevin C. Brown. “Some of these flexibilities, of course, are not where we would want to be in a normal time. But, look at it from a frame of reference of trying to get us through this school year the best we can.”