Q: How should ABE programs continue to serve students?
A: ABE local programs should continue to make contact with their students via telephone, video, teleconference or online communication. The communication must allow for participant and program staff interaction and participant identity must be verifiable. Teleconferencing technology such as Teams or Zoom, are great options to provide direction, instruction and communication.
CareerTech’s ABE division provides Aztec, Essential Education, Burlington English, and Reading Plus to local ABE programs which aid in communication efforts. If a program needs assistance with one these options, please contact the ABE division for help or go to https://www.okcareertech.org/okadulted for more information.
Q: Is 12 contact hours still a requirement during this time of pandemic?
A: All eligible individuals receiving services under AEFLA must complete at least 12 hours of instruction to be considered a “participant” under 34 CFR 463.150. Program closures due to COVID-19 have resulted in placing students in distance learning settings, and those students may be in various stages of completing the initial 12 contact hours needed for them to be considered a participant:
- Students who have transferred from classroom-based instruction to distance learning services and have already completed the initial 12 contact hours. These individuals are considered participants and do not need to complete another 12 contact hours.
- Students who have transferred from classroom-based instruction to distance learning services but have not yet completed the initial 12 contact hours. These individuals may continue to accrue the required 12 contact hours through telephone, video, teleconference, or online communication, where participant and program staff can interact and through which participant identity is verifiable.
- Students newly enrolled in distance learning programs and who were not receiving classroom instruction before COVID-19-related program closures must meet the 12-hour requirement before being considered an AEFLA participant. The 12-hour enrollment requirement for distance learners can be met by accruing contact hours through telephone, video, teleconference, or online communication, where participant and program staff can interact and through which participant identity is verifiable.
Q: Can ABE programs continue pre and post testing?
A: We recognize that local programs may not be able to conduct in-person testing of students enrolled in distance learning during program closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. To our knowledge there are no approved assessment vendors in Oklahoma that are providing pre and post testing with a virtual proctor option at this time. Our state is currently working with the assessment vendors, reviewing our assessment policies and working towards development of procedures to implement a virtual test protocol. In-person or proctored testing is still required by our federal counterparts at OCTAE.
If you have a method to test students that follows testing and safety guidelines, please submit a detailed description of the plan to your ABE specialist at CareerTech. Your plan will be reviewed for allowability.
Q: Can ABE programs continue to enroll new students?
A: The ODCTE recommends you enroll no new students until normal operations resume. Please focus on providing distance learning opportunities to the currently enrolled students who have already been assessed and are in a program of study.
Q: Do we continue to input programmatic information into LACES?
A: Yes. Continue to input information into LACES that occurred before COVID-19, especially any data from February and March. You will also need to add hours to LACES hours for student learning occurring through distance technology. Please make sure that you are reviewing your reports to ensure that they have the correct information. If any information was missed throughout the year, please add to LACES.
Q: Will the drop in program performance resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak have a negative impact for local programs?
A: As a State, we will continue to monitor the effect of the outbreak on our performance and impacts to our programs. Programs should follow their local organizations' guidelines and if possible, work towards continued engagement of their students. We are being asked by U. S. Department of Education to keep track of all students who could have post-tested but didn't due to closures and other health and/or safety guidance. Please maintain a list of those students to be submitted to our office at a later date.
Q: How is GED / HSE testing occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Currently, all GED/HiSET test sites are unavailable to provide testing in Oklahoma. As we learn of sites becoming available for testing, we will pass along this information.
Q: If a conference, training, or activity related to ABE is cancelled due to COVID-19, may grant funds be used to reimburse nonrefundable travel (airfare, registration fees, lodging)?
A: Yes under the following conditions:
- You must first seek to recover the nonrefundable cost from the entity that charged the fee. Some businesses are offering flexibility with regard to refunds, credits, and other remedies for losses due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Look for the emergency provision or “act of God” provision in the contract or agreement and seek to exercise that clause to the extent possible.
- If you are unable to recover the costs, you may charge the ABE grant for the cancellation costs, provided the costs were reasonable and incurred in order to carry out an allowable activity under the grant.
- You must maintain appropriate records and cost documentation to substantiate the charging of any cancellation or other fees related to the interruption of operations or services.
Q: May our school continue to pay the compensation of an employee paid with ABE funds during the period the employee is unable to work because the school is closed due to COVID-19?
A: Yes. The school may continue to charge the compensation (salaries, wages, and fringe benefits) of its employees who are paid by your current ABE award under the following conditions:
- The compensation paid must be consistent with your schools policies and procedures for paying Federal and Non-Federal similarly situated employees during times deemed to be unexpected or extraordinary in nature such as a public health emergency (example: COVID-19).
- If your school does not have a policy that addresses extraordinary circumstances such as COVID-19, your school may amend or create a policy that addresses Federal and Non-Federal similarly situated employees.
- If your school does not have ABE activities occurring but, according to your schools policies, are paying an ABE funded employee, that employee may not also be paid for time that may be spent working on other activities that are not closed.
- Adequate documentation must be maintained to substantiate the charging of any compensation costs related to interruption of operations or services.
We strongly encourage you to consider ways the employee paid with ABE funds can support continuing activities, including distance learning opportunities for ABE students.
Q: Can distance learning equipment and supplies be purchased to continue instructional services to ABE students?
A: Yes. A budget revision will be required.
Q: Are there changes to the dues dates for ABE claims submission?
A: No. 3rd quarter claims are due by April 13, 2020 including local, state and in-kind expenditures. 4th quarter claims are due by July 13, 2020 including local, state and in-kind expenditures. Final FY20 ABE claims are due by August 1, 2020 including local, state and in-kind expenditures.