Coronavirus crisis: Trump suspends standardized tests, student loan payments

A man wears a face mask to protect against the COVID-19 as he leaves the campus of the UCLA college in Westwood California

According to a release from the U.S. Education Department, states will be able to seek a waiver from federal testing requirements by filling out a form with a new streamlined application process.

DeVos said that because student performance, as measured by assessments, is required to be used in statewide accountability systems, states can ask for and receive a waiver from the requirement that this testing data be used for accountability purposes.

Michigan Gov. Whitmer closed K-12 schools in the state from March 16 through at least April 6 amid the COVID-19 outbreak, and many schools have switched to online instruction. The Department of Education's announcement Friday clarifies the policy change.

"These are anxious times, particularly for students and families whose educations, careers, and lives have been disrupted", US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said in a statement. However, schools can and are encouraged to offer supplemental learning opportunities to students using distance learning methods as they see fit. These tests typically take place in the spring.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies at a February 27 hearing on Capitol Hill.

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Trump's decision on student loans goes further than his initial plan to waive interest, but it falls short of requests from some advocacy groups.

The forbearance period for federal borrowers will last for "at least 60 days" and retroactively begin on March 13, 2020.

It's important to note that the government direction only applies to federally held loans.

For now, borrowers will be able to put off two monthly loan payments. But the department's guidance says suspended payments won't count toward forgiveness. "And we have more to come on student loans, more good news for the students". I think a lot of the students will be extremely happy.

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