On March 5, 2020, the Department of Education provided guidance to institutions whose academic operations are being impacted as a result of COVID-19, indicating that they are permitted to make distance learning arrangements to accommodate students whose enrollment is interrupted. WSCUC institutions can make those adjustments for this term or semester without notification to or approval from WSCUC.
In Fall 2020, the Department of Education notified accrediting bodies that accommodations would end in January 2021, and institutions were required to seek Temporary Authorization of Distance Education through their accrediting bodies for Spring 2021. CSULB applied for and received authorization from WSCUC in November, 2020. (Notification of Approval of Authorization)
WSCUC accredited and candidate institutions currently report each academic program as either an on-site or distance education program. Programs in which a student can complete more than 50% of their studies through distance education are approved and classified as such. Institutions do not need WSCUC approval to offer individual courses through distance education.
Institutions that are implementing distance learning for the purpose of completing the current term to navigate campus closures due to COVID-19 are not initiating distance education programs, according to WSCUC definitions. They are thus not required to seek approval or notify the agency.
Requests for approval are required for any on-site programs that institutions plan to continue though distance delivery when normal operations resume. WSCUC will work with those institutions needing assistance on applying this guidance as needed.
For questions regarding WASC/WSCUC, please contact Dr. Sharlene Sayegh, Director of Institutional Assessment & Accreditation Liaison Officer.