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High school seniors can waive certain graduation requirements during pandemic

If a student isn’t meeting graduation requirements due to challenges caused by COVID-19, school districts can apply to waive certain requirements.

SEATTLE — The Washington State Board of Education approved emergency rules Thursday that allow schools to waive certain graduation requirements for the class of 2021 due to challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rules allow school districts to issue waivers if the student has shown preparation for success after high school and the district has tried all options to ensure the student meets current graduation requirements. Students must have been “reasonably expected to graduate” had it not been for the impact of the pandemic, according to the emergency rules.

Districts must meet individually with students and provide guidance before deciding whether a waiver is the right option.

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The waiver must be documented in the student’s records and be reported to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

School districts can apply to be part of the waiver program starting in late March.

The emergency program was sparked by a bill approved by the state Legislature that allowed the State Board of Education to grant waivers.

The board adopted a similar graduation waiver program last year for the class of 2020.

Permanent rules for the classes of 2022 and 2023 are expected to be proposed in May and adopted in July after the board hears public feedback.

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