March 2020

ACCET Guidance Relative to Coronavirus Threat (Updated July 24, 2020)

ACCET is closely monitoring the situation regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and will provide our member institutions with guidance as it becomes available. Public health and public safety are foremost during this uncertain and ever-changing coronavirus threat.

On July 24, 2020, ACCET held a Virtual Visit Orientation (via Zoom) for all institutions with virtual visits scheduled in the December 2020 review cycle. This orientation addressed the essentials of the virtual visit, including the visit schedule and logistics of remotely sharing documents and conducting classroom observations and interviews at a distance. Resources from this Virtual Visit Orientation are linked below:

ACCET guidance provides certain flexibilities for member institutions that are working to help students complete the terms in which they are currently enrolled and identifies options available to institutions so that they can continue to serve students during the coronavirus threat. ACCET guidance identifies the terms and conditions for exercising these options consistent with the requirements of ACCET and, if applicable, the U.S. Department of Education and the Student Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP). These temporary flexibilities include:

  • Temporary closure.
  • Temporary distance learning (IDL) delivery.
  • Change in student enrollment status (e.g. full-time to part-time status).
  • Consortium agreements (This option is not available to IEPs).
  • Temporary change of location (This option is only available to IEPs).
  • Temporary flexibilities relative to externships/internships and labs.

On May 21, 2020, the ACCET Commission convened and approved: (1) additional temporary flexibilities and (2) extensions to previously approved flexibilities for ACCET institutions during the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency. The attached ACCET notice “Further ACCET Guidance – COVID-19 Additional Temporary Flexibilities” (dated May 21, 2020) to member institutions identifies approved temporary flexibilities in response to COVID-19, with additional temporary flexibilities approved by the Commission on May 21, 2020 in italics, including:

  • The extension of the COVID-19 emergency period to December 31, 2020.
  • The postponement of the 2019 submission deadline for annual financial statements.
  • Temporary flexibilities for the verification of high school completion or its equivalency.
  • Temporary flexibilities for leaves of absence (LOA) and satisfactory academic progress (SAP).
  • The extension of the IDL program application submission deadline (until August 31, 2020) to be eligible for the streamlined IDL program application process for institutions seeking approval to offer IDL instruction after the COVID-19 emergency.
  • Virtual visits to be conducted in the December 2020 review cycle in September– November 2020.

These ACCET approved temporary flexibilities align with “Guidance for Interruptions of Study Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)” issued by the U.S. Department of Education on May 15, 2020.

ACCET’s guidance (dated May 21, 2020) supplements previous March and April 2020 notices tailored to each type of ACCET-accredited institution, including notices dated March 9, March 10, April 6, and April 16, 2020, as provided below:

Additionally, ACCET hosted a series of free 90-minute Webinars on Interactive Distance Learning (IDL), that began with an introductory “Back-to-Basics” webinar held on March 20, 2020. Additional IDL webinars were scheduled in April and May 2020 for institutions offering IDL programs during the COVID-19 emergency. ACCET staff conducted free webinars on IDL best practices and the IDL program approval process to member institutions. Resources and videos of the previous IDL webinar are provided below:

Vocational Institutions:

  • IDL Webinar #1 – Town Hall (April 13, 2020)

Avocational Institutions, including Institutions Offering Intensive English Programs (IEPs):

  • Interactive Distance Learning (IDL) Webinar (April 13, 2020)

ACCET will continue to provide information to ACCET institutions as warranted. Institutions are also advised to frequently check the websites of the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and other authorities for updated information, including: