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Graduation Requirement Emergency Waivers

At the upcoming March 9-10 meeting, the State Board of Education will consider rules on graduation requirement emergency waivers for upcoming graduating classes, specifically focused on (but not limited to) the Class of 2023. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, similar emergency waiver rules have been adopted to help students struggling to graduate. The waiver was created as the pandemic impacted students’ ability to finish high school as they would have under normal conditions. For the graduating classes of 2020 through 2022, these emergency waivers have given students who are ready for their next steps the much-needed flexibility to earn their high school diploma, despite emergencies.

The graduation requirement emergency waiver is for districts that have applied, and waivers are given on an individual student basis. Graduation requirements that can be waived under this program include credit graduation requirements and graduation pathway options. The waiver program is a last resort and a policy that helps students who would otherwise be unable to graduate due to the disruptions caused by the pandemic. Districts must have shown a good-faith effort in helping students prepare for graduation before considering if the waiver should be used. The High School and Beyond Plan cannot be waived.

Rules in place allow up to two elective or core credits to be waived for the Classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 (note: only one credit in each core subject area is waived and the student earns at least 20 total credits). The requirements waived for the individual student will be based on those least applicable to their postsecondary plans. The waiver does not address: 

  • local graduation requirements—districts have authority to address these issues locally.
  • missed instructional hours and school days for public schools to fulfill the 180-day school year requirement.

More information about the graduation requirement waiver program, including the list of approved districts for the Class of 2022, visit sbe.wa.gov/emergency waivers.

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