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Clearances Policy

New COE students and those who have in-person or remote fieldwork planned for Fall 2021 sessions must follow the College’s standard clearance policy and submit their updated clearances before any interaction with minors.

UPDATED 7/27/2021:  As of 8/2/2021, all clearances should be presented in person. Contact Carla Kologie, Carla.Kologie@lehigh.edu, to schedule an appointment. Current Lehigh safety protocols are to be observed.

All COE students who are enrolled in academic programs must obtain and present three no-incident criminal clearances and a negative TB test. Beginning in fall 2021, COVID-19 vaccination cards also are part of the clearance file. 

**COVID-19 Vaccination Verification**

All Lehigh University students are required to submit verification of vaccination for COVID-19 as part of their required immunizations for the 2021-22 academic year, unless they have submitted a request for medical or religious exemption to the University’s Health and Wellness Center. If you are taking courses with required fieldwork, you will need to follow your placement sites’ safety protocols. Some districts are requiring fieldwork students to be vaccinated; some are not.

In an effort to place you for fieldwork efficiently and appropriately, I need to confirm your vaccination status. Please include your COVID-19 vaccination card as part of your clearance file to have on record in the OPC. Alternatively, if you have an approved exemption from the Health and Wellness Center, please provide a statement to that effect (please do not include the reason for the exemption or any details). As with all clearances, these will be copied and stored in a confidential manner. If required, you will need to provide the clearance documents to your sites in the manner requested by them.

If you have not been vaccinated and have a medical/religious vaccination exemption from LU Health and Wellness Center, the OPC will attempt to place you in a district that is not requiring proof of vaccination. If, however, the OPC cannot find a school willing to host you without a vaccination, you will need to work with your COE program to determine an appropriate course of action which may include finding a fieldwork alternative and/or delaying coursework.

This link provides information about verifying your vaccination status.

You should complete and submit clearances by the deadline established by your program or no later than the first week of classes.  The OPC will accept clearances between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. and 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. most days.  You are encouraged to use this link to schedule an appointment.  

During the first week of classes, the OPC will be open until 7 p.m., Monday-Thursday, for clearance verification. 

 

**You do not need to obtain or submit your clearances unless or until you have accepted an offer of admission to the College of Education.**  

College of Education Clearances Policy

Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, all College of Education students who come into contact with children either through field-based or research experience in school settings must obtain and present to the Program Coordinator of the Office of Professional Certification (OPC, Iacocca A119) the following up-to-date (not more than one year old) clearances upon matriculation into their academic program*:

FBI Federal Criminal History Record (Act 114)

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania uses the IdentoGO system for electronic fingerprinting for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal history background checks.

When you go to the IdentoGO site, you will be asked to enter your Service Code.  If you are completing any sort of observations, field work, practicum, internship or student teaching experiences in a school, you will use the following code:  1KG6RT

Please check the site for current fingerprint locations and hours.  Because these sites handle more than just fingerprinting, it is strongly recommended that you make an appointment to ensure the best use of your time.  

UPDATED Jan. 2021: Lehigh’s Parking Services is an approved site for Lehigh students.  If you intend to use that site, enter SP-LHV instead of a zip code in the enrollment center search. No walk-ins will be accepted at that location.

As with the previous process, you will receive a receipt for your transaction and will receive an email in a few weeks with a UE ID# and unofficial results.  

***Once you have logged in to see your results, you will have ONE chance to download and save your clearance.*** 

You will not receive documentation with official results; the only way to access the official results is for approved entities to run the UEID# electronically.

Please refer to this FAQ for additional information.

Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Records Check (Act 34)

Request your record through the PATCH system found at https://epatch.state.pa.us/Home.jsp

Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance (Act 151)

For online requests: https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home You must indicate that you are a "School District Employee."  Although you are not employed by Lehigh or the district you are working in, Lehigh is a covered school entity in this category.  Please review the FAQs on the Compass website for more information.

Use this link to complete a paper form through the mail.  Pennsylvania's government has created a website from which you can complete the online application, find the paper copy to mail or find a listing of FAQs about this important topic.  The website is here.

Mantoux Tuberculosis Screening or the results of a chest X-ray

Students may still obtain the TB clearance from the University Health Center; however, they no longer do the PPD test. The fee is $75 but can be submitted to insurance for reimbursement. Students who have university student health insurance will have the cost covered completely. The results are available 48 hours after the blood draw. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 610-758-3870. If you choose not to use the Health Center, we will need signed documentation from your doctor that indicates the results of your test.

Arrest/Conviction Report and Certification Form (Act 24)

Teacher candidates must complete the PDE-6004 form to have on file in the OTC.  Additionally, schools may request candidates to sign a form for their files.  Form PDE-6004 - Arrest or Conviction Report

After obtaining your clearances, bring your FBI secure registration ID# and all original documents to the OPC Program Coordinator (Iacocca A119) so we can make copies for our records.

Before students will be permitted to register for any course with a field experience component or initiate a research activity that involves school-based contact with children, they must have updated clearances on file with OPC. If clearances are not current, the student’s registration and/or field placement will be delayed until updated documentation is on file with the OPC. If anything other than "negative" or "no record exists" is reported on a student's documentation, the exact nature of the reported health or criminal record issue will be reviewed by the OPC Director in accordance with the College of Education Policy on Clearances. Depending on the outcome of that review, the student may not be placed in field or research experiences until all documentation is clear. If any action is needed in response to any clearance check, that action is solely the responsibility of the student, not the College of Education faculty or staff.

It is the student’s responsibility to keep clearance documents current by obtaining annual updates throughout his/her academic program and presenting originals to the OPC Coordinator upon receipt for verification and copying. 

Be sure to store your original clearance documents in a secure location and to keep them with you at all times when dealing with children. The schools are mandated by PDE to check original clearances for anyone entering the building likely to be in direct contact with children. Lehigh students must have up-to-date (not more than one year old), original documents available for school administrators upon request during all field assignments. Failure to produce documentation upon request will result in removal from the schools. The OPC is not permitted to replace lost clearances and will not supply copies on your behalf to the schools.

Decisions to admit students into public school practicum or internship placements are solely the purview of school districts. The department and/or program does not debate the merits of any school district decision in relation to clearance check results. If a student is arrested during his/her field placement or research experience, the Program Director will remove the student from the field placement or research experience pending dispensation of the arrest incident.

* Teacher candidates, Educational Leader candidates and others who are employed by a school or district may submit the Lehigh University College of Education Clearances Waiver in lieu of presenting individual clearances.  The original document must be on file in the OPC.  The waiver is valid for as long as the teacher candidate is employed by the school or district and until the employer requires updates; however, all field work for courses must be completed at said school/district.  Should there be a situation in which the candidate cannot complete field work in his/her school, the OPC will help to find a placement in another school once all clearances have been updated.  (ex.  Candidates' home district does not offer summer programming compatible with summer course fieldwork.)    

If you are employed out of state or in another country and have your current clearances on file with your employer, you may complete this form and return it to the OPC for review.