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COAPRT Advisory on COVID-19

The Council on Accreditation of Recreation, Parks, Tourism and Related Professions acknowledges the recommendations of the federal government, state-specific stay-at-home orders, and university-specific requirements have affected COAPRT-accredited programs in a variety of ways. 

Council has specifically noted a concern regarding the ability to meet Standard 7.04, “Students graduating from the program shall demonstrate, through a comprehensive internship of not less than 400 clock hours and no fewer than 10 weeks, the potential to succeed as professionals at supervisory or higher levels in park, recreation, tourism, or related organizations.”

Regarding internships, institutions have responded to the crisis in a variety of ways, including:

  • face-to-face internships are prohibited

  • face-to-face internships are allowed

  • virtual internships are prohibited

  • virtual internships are allowed

To address concerns regarding internships, COAPRT posted an announcement on March 23, 2020 at https://accreditationcouncil.org/About/News. Council offers this updated guidance:

1. COAPRT maintains that an internship is essential to the preparation of professionals in, parks, recreation, tourism and related professions. 

2. Council does not take a position on whether internships occur virtually or face-to-face. Such decisions are programmatic, and the Council recognizes there will be differences among programs. 

3. Guidance contained in the COAPRT advisory posted on March 23, 2020 pertaining to Spring 2020 internships remains in effect. For the Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 semesters, however, COAPRT is asking programs to continue following Standard 7.04 requiring a comprehensive internship of no less than 10 weeks and 400 hours. This has historically been interpreted as occurring at a single internship agency for the entire experience. To be flexible and realistic, COAPRT will, for these semesters, accept internships completed at more than one agency.  These guidelines are only in effect during the Covid-19 pandemic as it currently exists.

4. Council does not accept substituting  traditional, non-internship courses to replace an internship intended to meet Standard 7.04. 

5. COAPRT is recognized by CHEA, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. One of CHEA's principles is public transparency and accountability. As such, it is critical programs inform the public should students graduate from programs waiving any requirements related to accreditation standards. COAPRT hopes this will be a temporary issue, but should it apply to Spring, Summer or Fall 2020 semesters, programs are required to post on their website until January 1, 2025 the semester and nature of waived requirements and required substitutions if applicable. Student identifying information should not be posted.

6. If specific standards were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, programs are required to report these impacts to Council. 

7. Programs scheduled for review in 2021:

a. The Program should use the Self-Study to explain how crisis-related issues impacting specific COAPRT Standards were addressed.

b. For programs NOT scheduled for review in 2021: The Program should use the Annual Report to explain how crisis-related issues impacting specific COAPRT Standards were addressed.

Finally, the Council acknowledges that programs expecting a visit in the coming academic year may have questions about the feasibility of an onsite visit. The Council maintains that site visits are an essential and valuable component to the accreditation process; however, Council is in the process of evaluating viable alternatives to site visits should an alternative process be deemed necessary.

This advisory supersedes all other advisories pertaining to Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional updates will be communicated as warranted.

Approved by COAPRT Executive Committee, April 27, 2020

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