Vol. 32 Iss. 8 - December 14, 2015

Chapter 60
Final Regulation

Titles of Regulations: 8VAC20-60. Regulations Governing the Approval of Correspondence Courses for Home Instruction (repealing 8VAC20-60-10 through 8VAC20-60-100).

8VAC20-340. Regulations Governing Driver Education (adding 8VAC20-340-5, 8VAC20-340-40).

Statutory Authority: §§ 22.1-16 and 22.1-205 of the Code of Virginia.

Effective Date: January 13, 2016.

Agency Contact: Melissa Luchau, Director for Board Relations, Department of Education, P.O. Box 2120, 101 North 14th Street, 25th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219, telephone (804) 225-2924, FAX (804) 225-2524, or email


The regulatory action repeals 8VAC20-60, Regulations Governing the Approval of Correspondence Courses for Home Instruction, and amends 8VAC20-340, Regulations Governing Driver Education. The amendments (i) incorporate the definition section from 8VAC20-60, with minor revisions, and add a definition for the term "parent"; (ii) require the applicant to submit as part of the application process an affidavit, a schedule of tuition and fees, a description of its refund policy, and copies of all application forms and enrollment agreements used by the applicant; (iii) expand the approval criteria by requiring that the content of each course meets the requirements of the Driver Education Standards of Learning and the Curriculum and Administrative Guide for Driver Education in Virginia, 2010 edition; (iv) address approval and denial of an application, and revocation of an approved application; and (v) permit reconsideration by the board when an application is denied or when approval is revoked.

Summary of Public Comments and Agency's Response: No public comments were received by the promulgating agency.

8VAC20-340-5. Definitions.

The following words or terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Board" means the Virginia Board of Education.

"Correspondence school" means a school, organization, or other entity, no matter how titled, that teaches students by mailing them lessons and exercises that upon completion are returned to the school for grading. Such lessons or exercises also may be transmitted and graded by electronic means.

"Course" means the presentation of an orderly sequence of material dealing with an individual subject area, such as driver education.

"Department" means the Virginia Department of Education.

"Home instruction" means the teaching of a child or children by a teaching parent in the home as an alternative to meeting the requirements of compulsory attendance as defined in § 22.1-254 of the Code of Virginia and as a means of complying with § 22.1-254.1 of the Code of Virginia.

"Parent" means any parent, guardian, legal guardian, or other person having control or charge of a child as specified in § 22.1-1 of the Code of Virginia.

"School" means a correspondence school for driver education programs.

8VAC20-340-40. Approval of correspondence courses for driver education.

A. Required submissions. Schools seeking approval to offer the classroom portion of a driver education program to school-age children through a correspondence program or course in Virginia shall submit the following:

1. A signed and completed copy of the department's affidavit form.

2. A catalog or other documents containing the following information:

a. A statement of ownership or control of the institution;

b. Descriptions of the driver education courses offered by the institution;

c. A description of the method used to evaluate the students' work;

d. A schedule of tuition and fees, including the school's refund policies; and

e. Copies of all application forms and enrollment agreements used by the school.

3. Verification of approval or exemption from regular oversight from the appropriate state or local government agency in the school's state of domicile.

4. Information regarding the school's accreditation status.

5. The name and publisher of the textbook required.

6. An estimate of the minimum amount of time (in hours) required to complete the course.

7. Such additional information as the board or department may deem necessary.

B. All schools must evaluate the students' work at regular intervals specified by the department and maintain a permanent record of the work.

C. Each school meeting the criteria listed in this section is required to submit the required materials for review every year concurrent with the renewal affidavit.

D. Approval criteria. Driver education courses offered by schools submitting the materials required by this section shall be approved [ if when ] the following criteria have been met:

1. The school is, in fact, a correspondence school as defined in 8VAC20-340-5;

2. The courses offered are consistent with state or federal laws or regulations;

3. The school evaluates the students' progress at regular intervals specified by the department and maintains a permanent record of that work; and

4. The content of each course is accurate [ , and ] rigorous [ , ] and meets the requirements of the Curriculum and Administrative Guide for Driver Education in Virginia, 2010 edition, which includes the Driver Education Standards of Learning.

The school must provide evidence that at least two subject matter experts have reviewed and validated the accuracy of online content and textbook materials.

E. [ The department will consider an application complete when it determines that An application shall be complete when ] all required information has been submitted in the form required by the department. If the department [ finds, on behalf of the board, determines ] the application [ to be ] incomplete, [ the department shall notify ] the applicant [ will be notified of the insufficiencies ] in writing within 45 days of receipt of the incomplete application. [ If the The ] applicant [ does not resubmit a complete application must submit the required items to complete the application, to be received by the department ] within 45 days from the notification [ ,. If the application is not completed within the 45-day period, ] the case file for the request for approval as a provider will be closed. [ Prior At any time prior ] to closure, the applicant may withdraw the request for approval. The applicant may [ resubmit a complete submit a new ] application at [ a later any ] time.

[ F. Approval process. After a review of the complete application, the department will notify the applicant of its decision regarding approval. If the application is approved, the department will issue a letter of approval with terms of the approval. If the department denies or revokes the approval for good cause, the department will issue a letter stating the reasons for revocation and denial, including information regarding the applicant's right to appeal this decision.

G. Appeal process for denial or revocation.

1. Fact-finding conference: notification, appearance, and conduct.

a. Unless emergency circumstances exist that require immediate action, no application shall be denied, suspended, or revoked except upon notice stating the proposed basis for such action and the time and place for a fact-finding conference.

b. If a basis exists for a refusal to approve or a suspension or a revocation of the department's approval, the department shall notify, via certified or hand-delivered mail, the interested parties at the address of record maintained by the department.

c. Notification shall include the basis for the proposed action and any information in the possession of the department that can be relied upon in making an adverse decision.

d. The fact-finding conference shall afford the interested party the opportunity to present written and oral information to the department that may have a bearing on the proposed action at a fact-finding conference. Such information should include a brief, written statement of errors the party believes were made in the department's decision.

e. If no withdrawal occurs, a fact-finding conference shall be scheduled at the earliest mutually agreeable date, but no later than 60 days from the date of the notification. A school wishing to waive its right to a conference to proceed directly to a formal hearing shall notify the department of such at least 14 days before the scheduled conference.

f. The department may rely on public data, documents, or information in making its decision if all parties are given advance notice of the department's intent to rely on such data.

g. If, after consideration of information presented during an informal fact-finding conference, a basis for adverse action still exists, the department shall send to the interested parties a report on the fact-finding conference within 90 days of the conference, via certified or hand-delivered mail, that shall include the decision, a brief and general description of the factual or procedural basis for the decision, and the right to a formal hearing.

h. Parties may enter into a consent agreement to settle the issues at any time prior to, during, or subsequent to an informal fact-finding conference.

2. Hearing: notification, appearance, and conduct.

a. If an interested party intends to request a formal hearing, it shall notify the department within 30 days of receipt of a report on the fact-finding conference.

b. Parties shall be given reasonable notice of the (i) time, place, and nature of the hearing; (ii) basic law under which the department contemplates its possible exercise of authority; and (iii) matters of fact and law asserted or questioned by the department.

c. If an interested party or representative fails to appear at a hearing, the hearing officer may proceed in the party's or representative's absence and make a recommendation.

d. Oral and written arguments may be submitted to and limited by the hearing officer. Oral arguments shall be recorded in an appropriate manner.

e. The burden of proof at such hearings shall be on the party seeking to reverse the decision of the department.

3. Hearing location. Hearings before a hearing officer shall be held, insofar as practical, in the county or city in which the school is located. Hearing officers may conduct hearings at locations convenient to the greatest number of persons or by telephone conference, videoconference, or similar technology in order to expedite the hearing process. No hearing shall be located outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia unless it is held by electronic means as specified in the Code of Virginia.

4. Hearing decisions.

a. Recommendations of the hearing officer shall be a part of the record and shall include a written statement of the hearing officer's findings of fact and recommendations as well as the reasons or basis for the recommendations. Recommendations shall be based upon all the material issues of fact, law, or discretion presented on the record.

b. The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall review the recommendation of the hearing officer and render a decision on the recommendation within 30 days of receipt. The decision shall cite the appropriate rule, relief, or denial thereof as to each issue.

c. The Superintendent of Public Instruction's decision regarding the school's approval shall be delivered to the concerned parties within five days of the decision and include a brief statement of the conclusions, the basis of the conclusions, the basic law upon which the department relies, and the recommendation of the hearing officer.

5. Agency representation. The Superintendent of Public Instruction's designee may represent the department in an informal conference or at a hearing.

F. Approval, denial, and revocation.

1. The department, on behalf of the board, shall notify applicants in writing when an application is approved.

2. Applications that do not meet the criteria required by subsections A, B, and D of this section shall be denied. The department shall notify applicants in writing of the denial, stating the reasons the application was denied and including the applicant's right to request the board to reconsider the application, pursuant to subsection G of this section.

3. An approved application may be revoked for good cause, which includes, but is not limited to, the conviction of the applicant, or any employee thereof, of (i) any felony or (ii) any offense involving the sexual molestation, physical or sexual abuse, or rape of a child.

G. Reconsideration by the Board of Education when an application is denied or when approval is revoked. A school whose application has been denied or whose approval has been revoked for good cause may request reconsideration by letter to the board. The letter of request shall include the reasons that the school believes the denial or revocation was inappropriate and shall document how it has corrected any insufficiency identified in the letter of denial or revocation. The board's decision on reconsideration shall be final on that application; however, a denial of reconsideration shall not prevent the school from submitting a new application at a later time. ]

H. Determination of continued compliance. Approval of the academic courses shall be renewed annually on or before August 1, provided that the school verifies that it continues to meet the requirements of this section. Forms for this purpose shall be provided by the department.

I. Disclaimer. The Board of Education's approval of a correspondence course is not an endorsement of the program as a substitute for public school programs nor is it an endorsement of the educational or operational philosophy of the school. Additionally, the approval of courses is not intended as an endorsement of the quality of the courses nor is it a conclusion that these courses meet the educational needs of the student or the assessment required by § 22.1-254.1 of the Code of Virginia.

Parents who choose to educate their children at home through a driver education correspondence course are directly responsible for the educational progress of their children and the adequacy of instruction. The board assumes no liability for damages or financial loss to parents using any of the approved driver education correspondence courses.

J. Restrictions. No school whose courses are approved as a driver education program shall advertise in any way that the courses have the endorsement, recommendation, accreditation, or recognition, or any other similar term, of the board, the department, or the Commonwealth of Virginia.

K. Transmitting the affidavit, documents, and other materials. The affidavit, related letters, forms, and other required application materials must be submitted to the Division of Instruction at the Virginia Department of Education by email to the Driver Education Specialist, whose contact information may be found at

NOTICE: The following forms used in administering the regulation were filed by the agency. The forms are not being published; however, online users of this issue of the Virginia Register of Regulations may click on the name to access a form. The forms are also available from the agency contact or may be viewed at the Office of the Registrar of Regulations, General Assembly Building, 2nd Floor, Richmond, Virginia 23219.

FORMS (8VAC20-340)

Affidavit for Approval to Provide Driver Education Programs for Parents Approved to Home School [ undated (rev. 5/2013) ]

Classroom Driver Education Program Approval/Renewal for Homeschool Students [ undated (rev. 5/2013) ]


[ Curriculum Guide of Driver Education in Virginia. ]

Curriculum and Administrative Guide for Driver Education in Virginia, 2010 Edition (includes Driver Education Standards of Learning, revised January 2008), Virginia Department of Education [ (

Program Administration

Module One – Virginia Driver Responsibilities: Licensing Responsibilities

Module Two – Virginia Driver Responsibilities: Preparing to Operate a Vehicle

Module Three – Basic Maneuvering Tasks: Low Risk Environment

Module Four – Basic Maneuvering Tasks: Moderate Risk Driving Environment

Module Five – Information Processing: Moderate Risk Driving Environment

Module Six – Information Processing: Complex Risk Environments

Module Seven – Driver Performance: Personal Factors

Module Eight – Driver Responsibilities: Adverse Conditions

Module Eight – Driver Responsibilities: Adverse Conditions

Module Nine – Driver Responsibilities: Vehicle Functions

Module Ten – Driver Responsibilities: Making Informed Choices

Module Eleven – Laboratory Instruction – Behind-the-Wheel and In-Car Observation

Resource List ]

VA.R. Doc. No. R11-2644; Filed November 10, 2015, 1:04 p.m.