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Clearances Policy

 

UPDATE TO LEHIGH'S COE CLEARANCES POLICY:

COE Clearance Procedure for Fall 2020
New COE students and those who have in-person fieldwork planned for the Fall 2020 semester must follow the College’s standard clearance policy and submit their updated clearances on or before Sept. 3, 2020.  

Students who do not have in-person fieldwork for Fall 2020 are encouraged to complete clearances; however, we recognize that there are circumstances where that might not be possible. 

We understand that, due to the pandemic, some students may be unable to complete the fingerprinting process in Pennsylvania or may be uncomfortable updating their FBI and/or TB clearances due to in-person contact.  Accordingly, the College has temporarily modified its policy as follows: students who do not have fieldwork planned for the Fall 2020 semester may choose to delay the clearance process and should follow procedures to reinstate the required clearances by the first week of classes for Spring 2021 (January 25-29). 

Please note that students who choose to delay this process may not engage in any way with minors until all clearances are current and on file in the Office of Professional Certification. Additionally, to the extent that circumstances change and placements become available during the semester, students with an incomplete clearance file will not be able to participate in any placements.  While this is a personal choice, we want to be certain that students are aware of the potential impact on any placements. Students with questions may contact Carla Kologie.

If the University’s campus is open and students wish to present their clearances in person:

To minimize physical contact and maintain safe distancing, students will place clearances in the lock box near A119. 

Students should place a copy of their clearances and a copy of a photo ID (driver’s license, Lehigh ID) in the box. This is the copy the OPC will keep on file.  

If it is impossible for a student to bring a copy for the OPC, students should indicate that, and Carla will arrange a time for students to pick up their originals after copying.

Students should write their program and email on one of the clearances and paperclip the packet.

Carla will run FBI clearance and update electronic files. If there are any problems, Carla will email students.

Students are expected to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines (i.e., at least six feet apart) when visiting the OPC in person.

If the University’s campus is not open:

If comfortable with emailing these documents, students will need to scan the clearances and a photo ID to Carla.Kologie@lehigh.edu. In the email, they should include their program of study.

Once clearances are documented, Carla will email to confirm receipt.

NOTE:

Students may still obtain the TB clearance from the University Health Center; however, they no longer do the PPD test. Students can call the center to schedule a QuantiFERON blood test. If they wish to have that before Aug. 24, they can request an order that can be picked up at the front desk and taken to another provider. The fee is $70 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.

PLEASE SEE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT PDE'S REQUIREMENTS BELOW.

COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR FINGERPRINTING FROM PDE:

 Access guidance, updates, and more information on Act 18 of 2020.

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 has changed to a new electronic fingerprinting vendor for 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 new fingerprint locations.  Some are previous locations, some are not.  For now, Lehigh’s Mail Center is NOT an approved site.  Because of the transition and the fact that these sites handle more than just fingerprinting, it is strongly recommended that you make an appointment to ensure the best use of your time.  

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, you will have ONE chance to download and save your results.*** You will not receive documentation with official results; the only way to access the official results is for approved entities to run the UE ID# electronically.

I will run that number and print out the results for my files.  I cannot make copies of that information for you or for a placement site.  Your placement site will need to run the UE ID to access the official results.

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)

NEW!  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 FAQ's 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 FAQ's about this important topic.  The website is here.

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

The Lehigh Health Center offers TB tests for all students.  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; 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 field work.)    

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.