An emergency certification program for New York educators was extended for a year by state education officials, two state lawmakers announced Wednesday.

The extension will affect a wide variety of people in the education field, including teachers, librarians, school administrators, teaching assistants, school athletics coaches, GED instructors and jobs skills training instructors who are seeking certification or recertification.

“NYSED created the Emergency COVID-19 Certificate in response to the obstacles the pandemic created for teachers seeking certification, and many of those obstacles are still affecting the certification process today. I applaud the Board of Regents for their swift response to extend the Emergency Certificate deadline to September 2022," said Sen. Sean Ryan. "Their action has prevented an issue that would have unfairly hindered qualified educators and exacerbated staffing shortages in our schools.”

At issue was the pandemic creating limited testing centers for holding certification examinations. The State Education Department put temporary emergency changes in place in May 2020.

But as the pandemic has dragged on, it has remained difficult for educators in many instances to complete the certification process, and lawmakers requested an extension for the emergency certification application deadline from Sept. 1 to next year. That move was granted by state education officials.

"With the COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupting the teacher certification process here in New York State, this accommodation will be vital to ensure that schools across our state have the flexibility to hire qualified professionals and ensure the needs of our schoolchildren can continue to be met," said Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre.