President Donald Trump on Friday announced that the Education Department will not enforce standardized test requirements for the current school year, as the novel coronavirus outbreak has continues to force schools across the country to close.M
“With many schools closed due to the virus, the Department of Education will not enforce standardized testing requirements,” Trump said. “Very importantly, for students in elementary through high school for the current year. They’ve been through a lot. They’ve been going back and forth — schools open, schools not open.”
According to the Education Department, the agency will grant a waiver to “any state that is unable to assess its students due to the ongoing national emergency, providing relief from federally mandated testing requirements for this school year.”
“Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement, adding “Students are simply too unlikely to be able to perform their best in this environment.”
“Our actions today provide turnkey flexibilities for state and local leaders to focus on the immediate needs of their students and educators without worrying about federal repercussions,” her statement continued.
Carissa Moffat Miller, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, applauded the move by the Trump administration, saying it ensures state leaders can focus more time on serving the students, educations and community.
“State chiefs strongly believe in the importance of assessments and accountability but now is the time to focus first on the safety and well-being of all students as educators assist them in weathering and recovering from this national emergency,” Moffat Miller said in a statement.MORE: Coronavirus closings: Here are services that can stay open in New York
Trump also addressed student loans, saying the administration has “temporarily waived all interest on federally held student loans.”
“They’ll be very happy to hear that, and I’ve instructed them to take that action immediately,” Trump said of the Education Department.
He added that on Friday, DeVos “directed federal lenders to allow borrowers to suspend their student loans and loan payments without penalty for at least the next 60 days.”
Trump added that if they need to, the department will extend the time period.
“Borrowers should contact their lenders, but we’ve given them very strong instructions, so we’ve temporarily waived all interest on federally held student loans,” the president said.
DeVos — in a separate statement — said that during this time, “everyone should be focused on staying safe and healthy, not worrying about their student loan balance growing.”
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