P.O. BOX 2120
January 12, 2001
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Educational Interpreter Qualification and Waiver Requirements

The newly revised Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia became effective January 1, 2001. Also on that date the Special Education Program Standards were repealed, but the requirements affecting the qualifications of persons who provide interpreting services in schools, and waivers of those requirements, were incorporated largely unchanged into the new regulations. The requirements are included in Attachment A for your reference.

Individuals assigned to provide interpreting services by a local educational agency after January 1, 2001, must meet the requirements of 8 VAC 20-80-45 E1. If individuals meeting the qualifications of E1 cannot be obtained, persons may be hired with lesser qualifications, with the stipulation that they meet the full qualification requirements by the third anniversary of their employment, in accordance with 8 VAC 20-80-45 E2.

The qualification requirements apply to all persons who provide educational interpreting services, regardless of their job titles. Individuals assigned a proficiency level from the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) should contact the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (1-800-552-7917) to determine how to obtain a Virginia Quality Assurance Screening (VQAS) Level, as these regulations do not recognize any NAD level.

If individuals cannot be obtained who meet either the qualifications of E1 or E2, the superintendent shall request a waiver of the requirements according to the conditions specified in 8 VAC 20-80-45 E3. Changes to the waiver criteria include:

These criteria became effective January 1, 2001, and will be applied to any request for a waiver of the interpreter qualification requirements submitted for persons hired after that date. Persons who hold a VQAS Level II, have been employed for three years, and for whom a one-year waiver has been given, may be eligible to receive a waiver for an additional year if their VQAS percentage scores have improved.

The form to request a waiver and provide the necessary documentation to meet these requirements can be found in Attachment B.

The Department of Education recommends that all individuals providing interpreting services be informed of the qualification requirements so that they can identify the timetable by which they must meet the VQAS Level III requirement. All individuals providing interpreting services who do not hold a VQAS Level III should be involved in training activities that enable them to meet the qualification requirements. Funds continue to be available from the Department of Education to support

training for any school division that employs nonqualified individuals and does not have an interpreter training grant.

School divisions are encouraged to review their recruitment process and salary and benefits package to determine if qualified persons will be likely to apply for positions. The highest standard should be solicited in all recruitment activities.

Please contact Lissa Power-deFur, associate director, special education and student services, if you have any questions regarding the qualification or waiver requirements, training grants, or recruitment and salary strategies. Dr. Power-deFur can be reached at (804) 225-2818 or (