Frequently Asked Questions about the College of Education and COVID-19
In response to the COVID-19 crisis and in coordination with the reduced on-campus presence at The University of Texas at Arlington, all College of Education business is now being conducted electronically. If you have questions about your classes, please email your faculty member, or contact a College of Education advisor, either for undergraduate or graduate. For general questions, you may email us at email@example.com, or call 817-272-2591 and leave a message if we are unable to answer.
Q: How can I take the examination for Texas Educator Certification?
Texas-based Pearson VUE-owned test centers (Pearson Professional Centers) for Texas Educator Certification Examination Program testing are open where local guidance permits.
In our most recent Texas Educator Certification Examination Program newsletter, we shared that two new, temporary testing supercenters are also open:
Pearson Temporary Test Centers-Austin TX
400 Center Ridge Drive, Austin, TX 78753
Pearson Temporary Test Centers-San Antonio TX
9500 Bulverde Road, San Antonio, TX 78258
These new supercenters are available in addition to the existing Pearson Professional Centers in Austin and San Antonio.
In order to meet health and safety guidelines and physical distancing restrictions, test centers across the state are re-opening with reduced capacity. As a result, when candidates search for available appointments, they may need to broaden their searches geographically or extend their search to future dates. Additional appointments may become available as more sites re-open, so candidates are encouraged to check back frequently.
The online appointment availability tool is accessible through the program website, and provides real-time information about the availability of test centers and test appointments. For any given exam, candidates can access this tool from the exam page, by clicking “Check appointment availability” in the Exam Dates row. Only open test centers and available test appointments will show up in the tool’s search results (note that appointments are not guaranteed to be available for a given location and time until they are booked through a candidate’s account).
We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues and with candidates who are scheduling to test. Other updates related to COVID-19 and the Texas Educator Certification Examination Program are available on the program website, at www.tx.nesinc.com.
Q: Am I eligible for a one-year probationary certificate per Governor Abbott's waiver to TEA?
A letter detailing the information about the one-year probationary certificate was sent to all students who were potentially eligible (depending on completion of program requirements). We are making a copy of that letter available on our website as well as linking directly to the information from TEA.
NOTE: On May 29, 2020, we received word from TEA that if the governor's disaster declaration ends early, we will no longer be able to recommend eligible candidates for the one-year probationary certificate (WPRO). If you have not applied, please do so immediately. We are awaiting degree conferrals for some candidates. We will process as many eligible candidates as we are able.
Q: What information has the Texas Education Agency provided about COVID19?
For information and updates from TEA, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Guidance. TEA has also released a Guidance on Educator Certification and Preparation document on April 28, 2020.
Q: Are my classes eligible to be moved to the pass/fail grading option?
If you are in a program leading to certification, only letter grades will be issued. Please work with your instructor if you are experiencing an extenuating circumstance.
Q: I am doing my clinical teaching. What will happen now? Will I still be able to graduate?
Governor Abbott and the TEA have provided new guidelines to assist students who are completing clinical teaching that require specific hours/days, observations, and work to be completed within K-12 schools.
CLINICAL TEACHERS: For students completing clinical teaching during spring semester 2020 ONLY, waivers are allowed for those who meet the following criteria:
- Completed at least half of the required days of clinical teaching,
- 35 days for full-day assignments or
- 70 days for half-day assignments
- Demonstrated proficiency in each of the educator standards for all required assignments (according to UTA faculty), and
- Received a recommendation from your field supervisor and cooperating teacher that you should be recommended for a standard certificate.
This information applies to candidates who are eligible to be certification seeking. Your program coordinator and/or assistant dean, Dr. Denise Collins, will be in contact with you regarding your status. Should it be determined that you do NOT currently meet the waiver requirements, please work with your faculty member and Dr. Collins to determine next steps.
Q: I am doing my practicum. What will happen now?
PRACTICUM STUDENTS: For students completing their practicum during spring semester 2020 ONLY, waivers are allowed for those who have successfully met the following requirements for the practicum:
- Completed at least half of the required practicum hours (80 hours)
- Demonstrated proficiency in each of your educator standards in all required assignments (according to UTA faculty), and
- Received a recommendation from your field supervisor and site supervisor that you should be recommended for a standard certificate.
Your program coordinator and Accelerated Online Program supervisor of field experiences, Brenda Harris, will be in contact with you regarding your status. Should it be determined that you do NOT currently meet the waiver requirements, please work with your program coordinator and Brenda Harris to determine next steps.
This information applies to candidates who are eligible to be certification seeking. Please note that this does not apply to students who are late in submitting documents and have a practicum hold.
Q: I am in the last semester of my practicum to earn an advanced certificate (Literacy, Principal, Superintendent) or I am in an advanced program but am not eligible for Texas certification. What will happen now?
Your program coordinator and/or Accelerated Online Program supervisor of field experiences, Brenda Harris, will be in contact with you regarding your status. If you have not yet received an email, please reach out to your program coordinator.
Q: If I am not in the classroom during clinical teaching but still need to complete hours to meet the waiver requirements, what can I do?
Pay attention to emails from UTA, Dr. Denise Collins, your cooperating teachers/site supervisors, course instructors, and districts. Governor Abbott’s waiver and the TEA now allow alternative means for completing the requirements for clinical teaching/practicum experiences that don’t require a presence in an actual school setting. Your faculty and field supervisor will provide you with further guidance on how to meet these requirements.
Q: I have assignments that are dependent on being in schools and observing students. What should I do?
Please work with your instructor to identify alternative assignments that will not require visiting a school.
Q: I still need to take my certification exam. Will it still be offered?
Please continue to check the following site regarding Texas exams and opportunities for testing: http://www.tx.nesinc.com/
Q: No one is in the advising office. How do I contact my advisor?
While most of the campus is now telecommuting for safety reasons, our advisors, faculty, and staff are available. To speak with an advisor, please visit the following: https://www.uta.edu/coed/advising/undergradadvising/contact.php and complete a request for a Zoom appointment with your advisor. Should your needs be more immediate, please email your faculty member or your program area’s department chair.
Q: Can I register for summer and fall classes?
Yes! Please schedule an appointment with your advisor if you need assistance in registering for classes.
Q: I have a documented disability. How will I receive my needed accommodations in online classes?
Your faculty will defer to your original accommodation letter and provide the appropriate and identified accommodations. Should you have additional accommodation needs as a result of learning online, please work with your faculty member or contact UTA’s Office of Students with Disabilities.
Q: I’ve contracted the virus (or other illness or accident) and have been unable to complete my assignments due to the severity of my illness. What do I do now?
Faculty will work with students on a case-by-case basis. Please contact your instructor to discuss your situation and next steps. A doctor’s note may be required.
Q: What (if anything) is going to be done about the career fair?
Unfortunately, all UTA events have been canceled for the remainder of the semester. This includes the career fair, which has been postponed for the time being. As we are able, we will coordinate with school districts to determine how best you may connect with them for potential open positions.
Q: Are the student teaching seminars going to be sent out digitally?
Student teaching seminars are being managed by each program area. Please check with your faculty and supervisors and continue to watch your email for messages about any scheduled virtual meetings.
Q: I’ve had to drop a class but am still being charged. I keep calling but can’t get anyone in the financial aid office. What can I do? Help!
As you are aware, the majority of faculty and staff from the UTA campus are now working from home to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Staff in the financial aid office are especially burdened addressing financial aid as students enroll and withdraw from courses. Their webpage may have an answer for you if you have a frequently asked general question: https://www.uta.edu/fao/contact/. If not, click on the link to “Ask Blaze”. It make take a little time to get a response but, that will be the most direct way to obtain assistance. Unfortunately, the College of Education has no authority or ability to address issues related to financial aid.
Q. I’m feeling quite anxious about the events that are occurring and the self-quarantine and isolating myself is not helping. Do you have any suggestions that might help?
The events and new way of living are impacting everyone and we need to take care of ourselves and others. UTA does offer online Counseling and Psychological services (CAPS) online and by appointment (https://www.uta.edu/caps/). However, with current events, appointments may be limited. You might consider contacting your personal physician for support. Other things you might do include:
- Phone a friend or family member – they may enjoy hearing from you as much as you enjoy updating them about what is happening on your end.
- Make the most of your time at home! Make a list of all the things you want to accomplish while home and begin getting them done. This is a great time to…clean out closets, sort through old clothes and determine what to donate, or simply to read a good book.
- Catch up on homework or… get ahead in your readings!
- Go for a walk, get some fresh air…just maintain your “social distance” if others are also out.
- Change the channel! Instead of continuous news coverage about the coronavirus, watch a movie or binge watch an entire series you’ve been wanting to watch!
- Meditate….if you are not sure how to do this, there are numerous YouTube videos that may assist in just bringing a sense of calm.
- Try to maintain your regular routines and sleep patterns. This also aids in maintaining a sense of normalcy.
Q. I don’t have stable internet access. Is there anything that can help?
Some internet service providers are making accommodations to assist with internet access during this time. Here are a few links with information from major providers:
- Comcast (free WiFi for low-income households) https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19
- Spectrum (free for students only) https://www.wbtv.com/2020/03/15/spectrum-offer-students-free-internet-amid-covid-pandemic/
- Charter (free for students only) https://corporate.charter.com/newsroom/charter-to-offer-free-access-to-spectrum-broadband-and-wifi-for-60-days-for-new-K12-and-college-student-households-and-more
- AT&T (paid, not free; no late fees next 60 days) https://about.att.com/pages/COVID-19.html
- Verizon (paid, not free; no late fees next 60 days) https://www.verizon.com/about/news/our-response-coronavirus
- T-Mobile (paid, not free; no late fees next 60 days) https://www.t-mobile.com/news/t-mobile-update-on-covid-19-response
- Self service: https://uta.service-now.com/selfservice2?id=utassp01_kb_article&sys_id=4db18fa8dba78890d48b5e65ce9619bc&pageid=utassp02_kb_public_knowledge_base&kbnumber=KB0011314
As well, some UTA computer labs are open at this time and are set up to maintain appropriate social distance for those computers. All open labs are staffed, and stations will be sanitized after each user.