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COVID-19 response

The Commission on Opticianry Accreditation (COA) is aware of the precautions being taken by individuals, employers, and communities, to contain and prevent the spread of coronavirus.  We understand that a number of colleges and universities are temporarily shifting traditional face-to-face instructional delivery to remote platforms for the immediate future, and making the necessary adjustments to protect the health and welfare of their communities.

If disruption in class and/or clinical schedules occurs, “flexibility” could be the temporary use of distance or simulated education to maintain instructional and assessment activities.  For example, if face-to-face instruction and assessment activities are temporarily disrupted due to mandated campus or clinical closures, distance education may be implemented as a method to maintain instructional delivery.

In this urgent response situation, a temporary shift in delivery method will not require approval and will not affect a program’s current COA accreditation status.  Should these alternate measures persist beyond August 2020, the COA will require a one-page response form to be completed by each program.  This response form should identify, but not be limited to, the following measures specific for the program’s regional COVID-19 restrictions:

      1. Information regarding alternative instructional and/or assessment method
      2. Alternatives to direct patient/customer/client experience
      3. Sufficient clinical experiences prior to graduation

It is the program’s responsibility to ensure the competence of its graduates and to document that the assessment methods used provide a sound measure of competence.

The Commission on Opticianry Accreditation (COA), a not-for-profit agency, accredits Opticianry education in the United States.

The mission of the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation is to foster excellence and innovation in opticianry education by setting standards, assessing educational effectiveness, and identifying those academic programs that meet and exceed the standards, in order to aid programs to produce competent graduates who will provide professional services to the public.

Scope of accreditation: The Commission on Opticianry Accreditation (COA) accredits two-year Opticianry degree programs in the United States that are sponsored by post-secondary institutions accredited by agencies recognized by the Department of Education or CHEA (2019).

Recognition: The COA is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA, http://www.chea.org/).

Recognition is a “key strategy to assure quality, accountability, and improvement in higher education. Recognition by CHEA affirms that standards and processes of accrediting organizations are consistent with quality, improvement and accountability expectations that CHEA has established.” (CHEA Policy and Procedures)

CHEA can be contacted at:
One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 510
Washington DC 20036-1135
(tel) 202-955-6126
(fax) 202-955-6129