Impact on Accreditation Cycles – Spring 2020 and Fall 2020
Released on March 26, 2020
As you know, we are experiencing uncertain times as our country—indeed, the world grapples with COVID-19 and its impact. So much has changed in a short period of time, and circumstances continue to rapidly evolve. This is challenging for all of us. Your ACEN Staff know that the nurse leaders and faculty have been consumed with addressing the challenges the virus has caused. The faculty are learning to use new and old strategies to continue educating our next generation of nurses.
The ACEN Staff is also adjusting and embracing ways to continue serving you. To those of you who have reached out with questions, thank you for seeking guidance. As your supportive partner, we are here to assist you. Keep your questions coming.
The Spring 2020 site visit cycle was 99.99% finished before COVID-19 struck. While thankfully the ERP process for Spring 2020 site visits is continuing on schedule, we know that many of you are now thinking about Fall 2020. Understandably, we are now receiving questions
regarding Fall 2020 site visits. At this time, Fall 2020 site visits will occur as scheduled. If circumstances warrant, then appropriate changes will be made accordingly. For programs with an upcoming site visit, please review the information listed below.
On March 17, 2020, the United State Department of Education (USDE) told accrediting agencies that due to the highly unusual circumstances and challenges presented to the postsecondary education community by COVID-19, it was “reasonable and prudent to permit on a temporary basis – but not require – accrediting agencies to perform virtual site visits during this period (even if their existing procedures do not provide for virtual visits).”
Your ACEN Board of Commissioners endorsed the concept of conducting virtual site visits. At this time, it is too early to know whether the ACEN will conduct face-to-face site visits or virtual site visits in Fall 2020, and it is too early to delay any Fall 2020 visits. Every nursing program is impacted by COVID-19, so delaying all scheduled Fall 2020 site visits is not feasible. Any requested delay will only be considered on a case-by-case basis. Thus, your ACEN Staff and Board of Commissioners are working together to develop a virtual site visit contingency plan if conducting a face-to-face visit is not judicious. While details are unavailable at this time, we want everyone to know that we are working on a contingency plan and will share it soon.
Program leaders and faculty should continue accreditation preparations. The nurse administrator should bring any unique situation to our attention. We will work with you and your colleagues to explore solutions for that uniqueness.
Your ACEN Board of Commissioners and Staff send many wishes to all of you for comfort and patience as all of us navigate these uncharted waters. We will continue to closely monitor guidance from the World Health Organization, CDC, government authorities, and other sources to ensure we are making evidence-based decisions founded on reliable information.
Our hearts and thoughts go out to the everyone affected by this unprecedented event. Please reach out if there is anything we can do at the ACEN to support you!
With gratitude for your service to our profession.
Links to information to assist with writing reports for upcoming accreditation cycles:
• Updated ACEN Guidelines for Written Reports
• Sample Report Templates, Required Appendices and Instructions
• Virtual Supporting Evidence Article
• FIVE Tips for Writing an ACEN Report
• Focused Questions
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