Due to the pandemic, do current educators and school employees and independent contractors and their employees have additional time to renew their federal background checks?
Signed into law on May 8, 2020, Act 18 of 2020 provides additional time for school employees to renew their FBI fingerprint-based background checks due to the pandemic. Under Act 18, employees of public, private, and nonpublic schools, as well as independent contractors and their employees who work with schools, have until December 31, 2020 to renew their FBI fingerprint-based background checks at an approved IdentoGO location. 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 Teacher Certification (OTC, 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.
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 OTC Program Coordinator (Iacocca L102) 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 OTC. If clearances are not current, the student’s registration and/or field placement will be delayed until updated documentation is on file with the OTC. 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 OTC 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 OTC 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 OTC 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 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 OTC. 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 OTC 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.) /sites/ed.lehigh.edu/files/documents/teacher_ed/ClearancePolicyFormWaiver111219.pdf
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 OTC for review. /sites/ed.lehigh.edu/files/documents/ClearancePolicyFormWaiver%20Resident%20of%20other%20state%20or%20country%20180524.pdf