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Your home base for all NAACLS announcements, news and special features

In March, the NAACLS Board of Directors appointed a task force to develop a virtual site visit process for the canceled spring site visits due COVID 19. During the April 23rd Board of Directors meeting, the NAACLS Board approved this pilot process. The eligibility for these site visits are as follows: 

  • The program’s previous award must have no citations.
  • The program must be up to date with all applicable NAACLS responses and administrative issues (review materials, annual fees, surveys, etc.).
  • The previous three years of outcomes must meet all benchmarks.
  • Programs inactive during any part of their previous award are ineligible.
  •  Initial Site Visits are not eligible.

This is a pilot program will be voluntary for programs that qualify. It will only be an option for the cancelled site visits from Spring 2020. Once these canceled site visits have been completed, the Board of Directors will review the effectiveness and discuss possible long term virtual site visit policies at a later date.

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We invite you to view the NAACLS 2019 Annual Report on our website. The Annual Report includes a Message from the President, 2019 Program Data, 2019 Board of Directors’ Actions, 2019 Volunteers, Statements of Financial Position for FY ending June 30, 2019, and Rosters for the NAACLS Board, Review Committees and Staff.

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Marcia Armstrong, a member of the NAACLS Board of Directors, contributed an op-ed to the Honolulu Star Register, describing the essential role medical laboratory scientists are playing in the COVID-19 crisis.

You can find the column here.

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A number of program directors have contacted NAACLS regarding if “a student can be assigned a grade of “unsatisfactory/satisfactory” and/or “pass/fail.” It seems beneficial to address the issue on the NAACLS News for the convenience of all or NAACLS program directors.

NAACLS does not prescribe or deny specific methods of evaluations, such as “unsatisfactory/satisfactory” and/or “pass/fail.” It is within the program’s prerogative to select the method of “grading” to be utilized as long as the program continues to meet NAACLS standards.

Below is the NAACLS Standard VIII.C – Evaluations:

Evaluation systems must relate to course content and support program competencies. If there is evidence that competencies are not adequately achieved (through feedback mechanisms as described in Standard II.B) then course objectives will be examined in detail to assure that the objectives are behavioral, include all domains and relate directly to the evaluations used.

  1. These evaluation systems must be employed frequently enough to provide students and faculty with timely indications of the students’ academic standing and progress.
  2. The evaluation systems must serve as a reliable indicator of the effectiveness of instruction and course design.

Program Directors are encouraged to seek information directly from the Board of Certification, state licensure boards, and others if they have questions regarding the use of “pass/fail” or “satisfactory or unsatisfactory” in lieu of more traditional grading systems for credentialing eligibility.

We hope that you are staying safe and sane during these uncertain times. As always, staff is here to help when we can.

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Due to the State of Illinois “Stay at Home” executive order, the physical NAACLS office is closed for the foreseeable future. NAACLS Staff will still be working full time remotely and our goal is that no one will see any disruptions. 

Effective immediately, NAACLS will only be accepting electronic submissions of materials. Mailed in submissions of jump drives, or hard copies will not be accepted. Electronic submissions through cloud based services (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc) as well as email submissions will be accepted. 

We are aware that accreditation self-studies are due April 1st. If we have not acknowledged receipt of materials but your self-study was mailed in, please ask the appropriate staff person if they have been received. If not, we will accept documentation hosted in your/your institution’s accounts in the cloud.  NAACLS staff is researching other options for electronic submission of materials. We will have an update for you next week.

Payments can be sent to:


27321 Network Place

Chicago, IL  60673

Please note there will be a link to pay in your annual invoices. We will not be able to process checks sent to our office address.

If you have questions regarding this issue or others, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

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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.

Continue reading this article ›

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NAACLS continues to monitor the quickly evolving challenges programs are facing with the COVID-19 virus.

The NAACLS Board of Directors designed the current standards to provide programs flexibility of delivery methods, under the best of circumstances.  In the case of extreme situations, as we are currently facing, we encourage programs to take advantage of this flexibility.

As some of our program directors may remember, we sent out several standards last fall for public comment. One of those proposed changes dealt directly with teach-out plans. However, the public comment standards have not been voted on by the NAACLS Board of Directors. In the interest of clarity, NAACLS would like to remind everyone of the current standard language.

Standard V.D. A teach-out plan must be developed and submitted to NAACLS within 30 days of the official announcement of the closure of the program. 

A temporary inability to serve students does not require any action or a teach-out plan. If your program is altering your current processes to handle this extreme situation, your program does not need NAACLS’ approval of these changes or need to notify NAACLS of these changes. Notification and a subsequent teach-out plan are only necessary if there is an official announcement of the cessation of service by the program for the students. At the point of that announcement, the program has thirty days to submit an action plan.

Until then, programs are encouraged to continue to innovate and use creative problem solving to maintain compliance with the standards. NAACLS is impressed by remarkable collegial collaboration and innovative ideas and discussion occurring in real-time on the CLS Educators Listserv.  

If you have any specific questions, please feel free to contact the office. Otherwise, keep an eye on the NAACLS News, all announcements regarding COVID-19, as well as other matters, will be posted here.


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NAACLS continues to follow CDC Guidelines and is monitoring the situation. Please see the following Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education

Programs with scheduled site visits at institutions or regions that are closed or under travel bans are to inform NAACLS immediately to discuss options.

Volunteers who are scheduled to conduct a site visit should contact NAACLS immediately if there is reason to suspect they have been exposed to COVID 19 or if their employer or regional authorities have banned or discouraged travel.

At this time, NAACLS continues with the current site visit schedule if NOT notified of deterents by either program directors or site visit volunteers.


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NAACLS is following CDC Guidelines and monitoring the situation. Please see the following Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education .

Current Programs/Students:

If the program can continue to meet NAACLS’ Standards, it is within the purview of the sponsoring institution and clinical sites to choose the course of action based on their established protocols.  NAACLS requires programs to develop a plan of action for remedy  in the event of program closure or other situation whereby students’ completion of the program is delayed or impossible.

Programs scheduled for Spring 2020 Site Visits:

If individuals have been exposed to the virus or are coming from institutions/areas that are closed/under travel advisories and are scheduled for a site visit, they are to inform NAACLS immediately.  If programs have closed due to the virus and are scheduled for a site visit, they are also to contact their program services contact as soon as possible. At this time, NAACLS has made no changes in the current schedule.

Thank you,


After 24 years of dedicated service to NAACLS, Gwen James-Oriaikhi retired as of December 31, 2019. Gwen began her employment at NAACLS as an Office Coordinator before transitioning to Program Services. Upon her retirement, Gwen was serving as the Accreditation/Approval Manager as well as Executive Assistant. All of us at NAACLS will truly miss Gwen and her outstanding contributions to the agency.

As of January 1, Program Services staffing and responsibilities are as follows:

  • Mark Spence retains his current role and is responsible for Phlebotomy, Clinical Assistant and DCLS Programs. He is also the Volunteer Services Manager.
  • Russell DeCaluwe is responsible for the MLT programs and will assume responsibility as the Staff Liaison to the Quality Assurance Committee.
  • Michele Stevenson is responsible for the MLS programs and will also serve as Staff Liaison to RCAP and the BOD.
  • Jessica Jasso, who began her employment with NAACLS in November as Office Coordinator, has moved to Program Services and assumed responsibility for HT, HLT, CG, DMS, Pathologist Assistant programs, as well as a number of off- and on-cycle program service functions.
  • Other staff will continue with their present duties.

Please reach out to the office if you have questions.

We look forward to serving all of you in 2020 and wish you a very happy and healthy new year!

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