State Board of Education Approves Several New Rules

Mar 25, 2020

Several new rules won approval on Wednesday from the Oklahoma State Board of Education.

Some are emergency measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, including an extension to how long a teacher can be emergency certified.

"The state board would be authorized to issue an emergency certificate for a third year rather than the current limit of two total years per individual if a district board of education makes the recommendation that someone should receive that for a third year and meets the criteria," said State Department of Education Assistant General Counsel Lori Murphy.

Those criteria include satisfactory performance evaluations, documented progress toward obtaining a teaching credential and the district being unable to hire a certified teacher.

The board also approved emergency rules suspending chronic absenteeism counts and allowing testing exemptions for affected students during state or federally declared emergencies.

The board also approved several new permanent rules. One is a set of guidelines to minimize the use of seclusion and restraints on students.

"The rule provides that in order to place a student in seclusion or restraint, several conditions must be met, including that the situation is an emergency with an imminent threat of danger to a person, not just property, and the other key requirement is that the school personnel involved are appropriately trained," Murphy said.

The rule also bans the use of restraints on students with disabilities.

Another rule approved by the board lets students get a "seal of biliteracy" if they pass an Advanced Placement test or other accepted foreign language assessment.