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January 2021 Regents examinations cancelled

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The following email was sent to all high school members on Nov. 5 by UFT Vice President for Academic High Schools Janella Hinds and UFT Vice President for CTE High Schools Sterling Roberson.

The State Education Department announced today that the January 2021 Regents Examinations are cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the State Education Department's Nov. 5 memo » 

Read an FAQ about the Regents exam cancellation » 

Here are some highlights from the State Education Department's memo:

Modifications to diploma requirements

The State Education Department will propose modifications to the assessment requirements that students must meet to earn high school diplomas, credentials and endorsements at the December Board of Regents meeting. These modifications apply to all students who are completing a secondary-level course of study or make-up program in January and are scheduled to participate in one or more of the January 2021 Regents exams.

Regents exam exemptions

To ensure students are not adversely affected by the cancellation of the exams, the State Education Department will ask the Board of Regents to adopt emergency regulations pertaining to the assessment requirements that students must meet in order to earn diplomas, credentials and endorsements. Under the proposed emergency regulations, students who are planning to take one or more Regents exams during the January 2021 examination period at the conclusion of a course of study or a make-up program will be exempt from the requirements pertaining to passing such a Regents exam to be issued a diploma. To qualify for the exemption, the student must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be currently enrolled in a course of study that would ordinarily culminate in the taking of a January 2021 Regents exam and earn credit for such course of study by the end of the first semester of the 2020-21 school year; or
  • Between Sept. 1, 2020 and the end of the first semester of the 2020-21 school year, successfully complete a make-up program for the purpose of earning course credit; or 
  • Be preparing to take a required Regents exam to graduate at the end of the first semester of the 2020-21 school year.

Use of safety nets

All current safety net options remain in effect for all students and must be considered in the determination of which diploma type can be awarded. To determine whether general education students, English language learners and students with disabilities are eligible to earn either a Regents or local diploma, schools should consider an exempted examination to be a score of 65. However, students with a disability eligible for the compensatory safety net may not use exemptions on tests to compensate for lower test scores.

Any student, including a student with a disability, who does not earn a Regents or local diploma continues to be eligible for a free appropriate public education until the end of the school year in which the student turns age 21, or until the receipt of a Regents or local high school diploma.

Mastery, honors and technical endorsements

Examinations from which students have been given an exemption as a result of the cancellation of the January 2021 Regents exams will be excluded from any calculation used for determining eligibility for an Honors or Mastery endorsement on a diploma. In the case of Honors endorsements to either a Regents Diploma or a Regents with Advanced Designation Diploma, if a student achieves a calculated average of 90 or above on all examinations taken applicable to their diploma type, the student will attain the honors endorsement on such diploma. Any examination exempted because of the cancellation of the January 2021 examinations will not be included in such calculation.

For more updates, please visit the State Education Department’s dedicated COVID-19 information website.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Thank you for your continued hard work supporting your students during this challenging time.

Related Topics: Coronavirus