The NAACLS Staff has received many questions of a similar nature over the past thirty-six hours, so we felt it appropriate to share those answers with everyone. We know that in addition to the complexities COVID 19 has added to the instruction of your students, many of you are facing pressure from higher administration to provide answers to questions you usually do not face.
First, a general note. NAACLS is not relaxing our standards. We expect accredited and approved programs to remain compliant with the NAACLS Standards, and educate students to industry-established entry-level competencies. Now more than ever, we all should be diligent in ensuring the quality of laboratory scientists entering the workplace.
When NAACLS review committees and the Board of Directors developed the current standards, the goal was to provide as much flexibility as possible. Under the best of circumstances, programs regularly face unique challenges; what programs are facing now is unprecedented. Now, more than ever, nonprescriptive standards are essential.
Now, to address some common themes we have found in the questions we have been getting.
We are delaying, moving up, altering our graduation date. What do we need to send to NAACLS?
Programs do not need to notify NAACLS of these changes. NAACLS has no standard on when graduations should take place as long as the students have achieved the entry-level competencies.
Due to clinical sites closing/emergency higher administration policies/state mandates/etc. our students are unable to finish their clinical. What should we do?
If you can complete the rotations through simulation and stay compliant with the NAACLS Standards and entry-level competencies, your program can continue uninterrupted. If not, you may have to delay those essential parts of the rotation until clinical spots once again make themselves available.
How many clinical hours are required by NAACLS?
Based on the NAACLS Standards, Phlebotomy and CA programs are required to have 100 hours of clinical experiences. Otherwise, it is up to the discretion of the Program Director to set the amount for the student to achieve the entry-level competencies.
Do I need to notify NAACLS in the event of [variable situation]?
For what the majority of our program directors are facing currently, (beyond a change of program director, affiliates, etc.), NAACLS only needs to be notified if the program is being closed. For more information on teach-out plans and closures, please see yesterday’s NAACLS News post. For changes in delivery methods, alterations of schedules, or other modifications being put in place to adjust to the current challenges, NAACLS does not need to be notified. We feel you already have enough on your plate.
Is NAACLS giving extensions for Self Studies, Interim Reports, or Progress Reports that are due April 1st, 2020?
NAACLS is allowing programs to submit by May 1st, 2020, but they must notify their program services coordinator and receive confirmation.
What other resources should I follow for a NAACLS announcement?
We will be making all-important broadcasts on the NAACLS News. We also encourage you to join the CLSEDUC Listserv. It is a place to lean on educator peers for advice and collaboration as we continue to deal with the effects of COVID-19.
We hoped sharing these frequently asked questions helped. As an accreditor, we want to support educators when possible, but also to stay on the sideline when we can, allowing you to do your job. If you have any concerns, please feel free to reach out to NAACLS Staff.