Policy Report

Teaching in The Time of COVID-19

 State Recommendations for Educator Preparation Programs and New Teacher

Digital illustration of the United States
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
September 2020 | American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
Digital illustration of the United States

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) reviewed and analyzed COVID-related state guidance to educator preparation programs (EPPs) in pursuit of three goals: (1) to understand what states are doing to help prepare teachers for the classroom during this crisis, (2) to understand any extant trends in state guidance, and (3) to identify recommendations for state leaders to enhance the support of new teachers impacted by program and policy disturbances stemming from the coronavirus crisis. While AACTE offers a deeper explanation of the rationale, action steps, and examples for their policy recommendations in this report, the following is a high-level summary of their ten recommendations:

  • Recommendation #1: In making licensure and certification waivers for teachers, states should make changes that are: (a) Directly necessary because of the pandemic (b) Temporary with a timeline for an ending that is clearly delineated (c) Transparent in that those who are granted certification as a result of waived requirements must be so classified, (e.g., “waiver-certification”).
  • Recommendation #2: States should seek innovative opportunities to address ongoing challenges—such as lack of diversity in the profession and the need to modernize the processes of licensure and certification—as they consider licensure and certification revisions.
  • Recommendation #3: Ensure candidates continue gaining experience teaching in a clinical setting with a mentor teacher, university supervisor, and continuous feedback.
  • Recommendation #4: Encourage flexibility and collaboration between EPPs and school districts that ensure teacher candidates participate in clinical experiences online or in distance settings, if PK-12 schools are not physically back in brick and mortar buildings
  • Recommendation #5: Encourage innovative approaches to clinical experiences including distributed learning models that employ team teaching in PK-12 settings, simulated classroom environments that allow candidates to approximate teaching, and financially supporting candidates through employment with the local school.
  • Recommendation #6: Assess the needs of new teachers impacted by COVID-19 and identify areas for additional support. 
  • Recommendation #7: require an induction action plan for new teachers describing the activities that must be completed or acquired for successful induction. 
  • Recommendation #8: Establish a mentorship program to equip new teachers with strategies to deliver high-quality instruction to diverse learners. 
  • Recommendation #9: Implement co-teaching for new teachers whose clinical experiences were fully or partially waived, and teachers who have not passed exams for licensure and certification due to COVID-19. 
  • Recommendation #10: Partner with EPPs to provide professional development to ensure that new teachers possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to teach diverse students.


Accompanying this report is a state-by-state interactive map designed to highlight and present changes to policies and practices across the nation in four categories: (1) initial licensure and certification, (2) clinical experiences, (3) hiring and induction, and (4) state standards and other program requirements.

Recent Resources