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Emergency Waiver Program

Contact Information

Parker Teed
Basic Education Manager

As of May, 2021, the State Board of Education has adopted emergency rule to establish this waiver program for students graduating in the 2020-21 school year. The waiver application has launched as iGrants Form Package 956 in the Educational Data System.

Application Information   |   Resources

The following are frequently asked questions about the new rules and waiver program (published in March, 2021). SBE has received many good questions about emergency rulemaking. View FAQs on the Emergency Waiver Program.

The application for emergency waiver authority can be completed by School Districts, or other applicable Local Education Agencies as defined in Chapter 180-111 WAC, in Form Package 956 iGrants. The district data security manager can assign an appropriate staff member the user role for Form Package 956 in iGrants.

The purpose of the emergency waiver program is to grant Local Education Agencies flexibility so that students in the graduating Class of 2020, Class of 2021, and other applicable graduating classes under Chapter 180-111 WAC (see note below) are not negatively impacted by unforeseen disruptions resulting from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The authority for this waiver is Laws of 2021 (EHB 1121) which authorizes the State Board of Education to administer an emergency waiver program.

NOTE: A Local Education Agency that is granted authority for this emergency waiver is considered in compliance with the program of basic education provided that the Local Education Agency meets the requirements of this emergency waiver program and the other provisions of the program of basic education. At the time of the launch of Form Package 956 in iGrants, the State Board of Education has implemented emergency rule for only the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021. The State Board of Education is engaged in permanent rulemaking to address upcoming graduating classes, such as the Class of 2022 and beyond, that are affected by COVID-19 and will consider adoption of final permanent rules at its July 2021 Board meeting. Approval of this application by the State Board of Education confers waiver authority under WAC 180-111-050.

In order to be granted the waiver authority, the Local Education Agency must certify compliance with each of the following requirements. The Local Education Agency: 

  • The local education agency shall ensure equity in administering the emergency waiver. The local education agency shall disaggregate administrative waiver data by student subgroups as referenced in RCW 28A.300.042(3) and will conduct further disaggregation of subgroups if data is available to do so. If disproportionality is found, the local education agency will take appropriate actions to ensure equitable administration. This consideration should further be designed to identify and mitigate potential disparate impacts of the emergency waiver and to determine if any changes to the local education agency's approach in administering the emergency waiver, including supports to help students meet the requirements per WAC 180-111-020, are needed before the conclusion of the school year.
  • The local education agency will grant waivers on an individual student basis to eligible students in accordance with section WAC 180-111-020.
  • The local education agency will demonstrate a good faith effort, as defined in WAC 180-111-020, to help the individual student address credit deficiencies and meet core course and graduation pathway requirements prior to granting a waiver.
  • The local education agency will follow the limitations under WAC 180-111-050 for the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • The local education agency will administer the waiver in accordance with program rules as outlined in this chapter. The local education agency will also maintain records as required by Chapter 180-111 WAC and EHB 1121. The local education agency will be prepared to report all data requested in the annual State Board of Education basic education compliance process and report student-level data as determined by OSPI.
  • The local education agency will adopt by resolution a written plan, under WAC 180-111-040, that describes the district’s process for granting and declining emergency waiver for students, and provide for a panel with at least one counselor and educators with expertise in trauma-informed instruction and culturally responsive education, and if appropriate, special education, instruction for multilingual/English Language learners, and a migrant graduation specialist or migrant student advocate to review and make recommendations to the district concerning any decision to decline a waiver. The resolution will also include a process for students to appeal within the school district a decision to not grant an emergency waiver. The plan must include culturally responsive ways, based on the school district’s local community, to communicate with students and families about the waiver and the process to request, appeal, or decline the waiver.