Vol. 37 Iss. 20 - May 24, 2021

Chapter 131
Action Withdrawn

Title of Regulation: 8VAC20-131. Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (amending 8VAC20-131-5; adding 8VAC20-131-185).

Statutory Authority: § 22.1-253.13 of the Code of Virginia.

Notice is hereby given that the State Board of Education has WITHDRAWN the proposed regulatory action for 8VAC20-131, Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia, that was published in 31:24 VA.R. 2151-2156 July 27, 2015. Chapter 183 of the 2021 Acts of Assembly requires the board to promulgate regulations establishing standards for the accreditation of public virtual schools that enroll students full time. The original intent of the legislation was to address situations where a student would be enrolled in a public schools and take all coursework virtually, rather than in a traditional "brick and mortar" environment. For reasons unknown to Department of Education staff, this regulatory action did not proceed to the final stage.

The climate and necessity of virtual learning expanded drastically in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has highlighted areas of need for Virginia's public education system to ensure equity of opportunity for all students. As school divisions pivoted to support students through multiple instructional methods including hybrid and virtual formats, several factors have had a large impact on consistent, effective implementation of quality instruction, including (i) lack of broadband infrastructure and access for all students; (ii) lack of devices for each student to access virtual instruction; (iii) lack of capacity of school divisions and professional development for educators to support the shift to virtual teaching and learning; and (iv) the inadequacy of a virtual format to meet many students' needs, particularly students with special needs and younger students. While promulgating regulations establishing standards for accreditation of public virtual schools may not address each aspect of those inadequacies, more consistent standards and expectations would likely have a positive impact on quality instruction and student achievement. The State Board of Education intends to start a new regulatory action by issuing a new Notice of Intended Regulatory Action in the coming months.

Agency Contact: Holly M. Coy, Assistant Superintendent, Policy, Equity and Communications, State Board of Education, P.O. Box 2120, Richmond, VA 23218-2120, telephone (804) 225-2092, or email

VA.R. Doc. No. R12-3261; Filed April 27, 2021