Updates on pandemic's impact on educator licensing
Ohio’s ordered school-building closure and other measures taken in response to the coronavirus health crisis affect the educator licensure process for both current and prospective educators. Impacts include the closure of many background check locations and licensure examination testing sites and challenges to completing professional development requirements. Background checks, professional development and testing are typical requirements for both current educators and prospective educator candidates to receive or renew educator licenses.
The ongoing coronavirus health crisis has not disrupted the ability of the Ohio Department of Education to receive and process applications and renewals for licensure. The Office of Educator Licensure currently is processing applications within five business days and is ready to assist educators, schools and districts with their licensure-related inquiries and needs.
FLEXIBILITY FOR CURRENT EDUCATORS WHOSE LICENSES EXPIRE JULY 1, 2020
The Ohio Department of Education is providing flexibility regarding the licensure renewal deadline. All licenses currently set to expire on July 1, 2020, will have their expiration dates extended to Sept. 1, 2020. This license expiration extension will allow educators additional time to complete their requirements for renewal. It is important that educators complete their legally required professional development by Sept. 1, 2020, or an additional three semester hours of professional development will be required for renewal. Educators may need to adjust their individual professional development plans as needed.
With the passage of House Bill 197, the coronavirus relief bill, further flexibility will be provided to educators should the state of emergency declared by executive order (Executive Order 2020-01D signed by the Governor on March 9, 2020) extend into the summer. Under this law, the period for educators to complete their renewal requirements and renew their licenses will extend to 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted, but not later than Dec. 1, 2020, whichever date comes first. Educators’ current licenses will remain valid during this time period as well. The Ohio Department of Education cannot provide a fixed date for licensure expiration until the current state of emergency is lifted, but the possible scenarios are as follows:
- If the period of the emergency declared by executive order ends on any day before June 3, 2020 (90 days before Sept. 1, 2020), all licenses will expire on, and must be renewed by, Sept. 1, 2020.
- If the period of the emergency declared by executive order ends on any day between June 3, 2020 and Sept. 2, 2020 (90 days before Dec. 1, 2020), all licenses will expire, and must be renewed by 90 days from the day the emergency order ends.
- If the period of the emergency declared by the executive order ends on any day after Sept. 2, 2020, all licenses will expire on, and must be renewed by, Dec. 1, 2020.
Please note that these extensions do not apply to any educator whose license, certificate or permit is suspended as of June 30, 2020. As more information about the end date for the emergency declared by executive order becomes available, this website will be updated to provide up to date information regarding licensure expiration and renewal periods, so please check back for future clarifications.
LOCAL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEES
Current educators whose licenses expire this year should contact their Local Professional Development Committees and work to modify, as needed, their individual professional development plans as soon as possible. Although many in-person professional development opportunities have been canceled, educators can continue to take advantage of remote and web-based professional development opportunities as approved by their Local Professional Development Committees.
Local Professional Development Committees are encouraged to continue meeting via telephone, video-conference or other remote means. If a meeting is subject to Ohio’s Open Meetings Act, districts should work with their legal counsels to determine how best to proceed. These committees also should be flexible in their approaches to reviewing and approving professional development considering the current circumstances.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION AND/OR BUREAU OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION AND IDENTIFICATION BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR CURRENT AND PROSPECTIVE EDUCATORS
The Ohio Department of Education has been notified by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and Identification it is processing background checks at this time. Any applicant who needs to complete a background check should contact BCI at (877) 224-0043 for instructions on how to complete fingerprint collection at home.
CURRENT UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE STUDENTS ENROLLED IN EDUCATOR PREPARATION PROGRAMS
The Ohio departments of Education and Higher Education have worked with educator preparation programs to create more flexible pathways for students to complete their clinical experience requirements. Please contact your college or university and work with your educator preparation program to determine your pathway to completion.
INITIAL LICENSURE EXAMS
The Ohio Department of Education understands the current situation impedes the ability of applicants to take their initial licensure examinations, including the Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE), American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) testing and others. At this time, it is unknown how long this disruption will last. In response to this unprecedented situation, the Ohio Department of Education has been granted the authority to issue a one-time, one-year temporary license for the 2020-2021 school year to applicants who meet all other qualifications for licensure but have been unable to complete their required initial licensure examinations. Under this one-year temporary license, an applicant can apply to advance his or her license upon successful completion of the required licensure examinations. The Office of Educator Licensure will begin accepting applications for these temporary licenses on May 15, 2020.
Applicants can find up-to-date information about OAE testing and schedule future examinations on the OAE testing website at http://www.oh.nesinc.com/