The city’s schools will be closed Tuesday as a massive snow storm closes in on the city, and that day’s Regents exams will be moved to later this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference Monday.
The global history and Algebra Regents exams and two special-education tests scheduled for Tuesday will instead be given on Thursday afternoon, Chancellor Carmen Fariña said at the briefing. Schools were also given permission to administer Monday afternoon’s Regents exams early so that students and staff could get home, she said. The city had earlier called off all after-school activities Monday.
The city’s move to reschedule the Regents exams followed the highly unusual decision by the state earlier in the day to allow districts to postpone the tests. In the past, the state education department has barred districts that close schools due to weather emergencies on scheduled Regents dates from giving the tests at different times as a way to prevent cheating.
The Regents exams, which high school students must pass in order to graduate, began Monday and were scheduled to finish Thursday morning. Regents tests are also offered in June and August, but this month is the second-to-last chance that students have to take the Algebra exam before it is permanently replaced by one aligned to the new Common Core standards. Fewer students sit for the Regents exams in January than in the later months, but it offers those unable to pass the tests in the past a chance to try again.
Last January, the state did not allow some upstate districts that cancelled the Regents exams due to cold weather to reschedule them, explaining it would be too costly to create makeup tests. When New York City schools cancelled the Regents exams because of snow in 2011 and 2004, the state did not permit the city to reschedule them but did let students use passing course grades to earn a less rigorous diploma.
On Monday morning, State Education Department Deputy Commissioner Ken Wagner sent a memo to school districts saying that more than half of students statewide are expected to miss one or more days of school due to the storm, adding that local officials should, “close school if you need to close school.” He instructed them to tell the department which exams had to be cancelled and what their plans are “to ensure the security of exams and scoring materials” while they wait to reschedule them.
“We will work together to ensure that this historic and extraordinary situation is navigated in a way that keeps us all safe, is fair to students, and trusts our school and district leaders to preserve the integrity of the Regents Exam program,” Wagner wrote.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a news conference in New York City at noon Monday, where he declared a state of emergency in several downstate counties, including New York City.
“This is not a storm to take lightly,” he said, adding that the city’s subway system will reduce service after 7 p.m.
The full state memo is below. We’ll continue to update this story throughout the day as more information becomes available.
Colleagues, As you know, New York State will be affected by an historic snow storm over the next few days. We are seeing reports that well over half of our students from Montauk to Utica will be affected by one or more days of school closures during the administration of the January Regents Exams. In addition, Tuesday is one of the final administrations of the Integrated Algebra Regents Exam, which, as you know, is a graduation requirement and an exam being phased out as part of our assessment transition. Therefore, the Department will make the following one-time adjustment in reaction to this historic, extraordinary, and widespread confluence of events. First and most important – be safe during the storm. Close school if you need to close school. When the storm has passed, each school superintendent, charter school leader, and nonpublic school principal in a district or school impacted by weather-related closures must send to the Department at email@example.com a description of the date(s) on which schools were closed due to weather, which January Regents Exams had to be canceled, when you plan to administer the tests, and your comprehensive plan to ensure the security of exams and scoring materials during this time period. Please observe the following constraints when submitting your plan +All exams should be administered as close as possible to the original administration window. +All January Regents Exams must be administered by Friday, January 30, 2015. +Although scoring materials will be available according to the previously posted schedule, you may not access or distribute these scoring materials until all exams have been administered in your school. +Regents Exam booklets should be kept secure until 5 pm on Friday, January 30. We will work together to ensure that this historic and extraordinary situation is navigated in a way that keeps us all safe, is fair to students, and trusts our school and district leaders to preserve the integrity of the Regents Exam program. If you have any questions, please contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-474-5902. Ken