Below are the most frequently asked questions concerning the MU Clearances policy. The policy and blank form letter are provided further below. For more details see MU's Clearance Instructions. To confirm receipt of your letter login to WebAdvisor (click Test Summary) or contact Jill Scott (570-662-4790).
Who submits clearances?
Everyone in a teacher education program (including SL&IT), regardless of the state in which they teach or work.
But I'm already a teacher, do I really need to submit a letter?
Yes!!! All SL&IT students must comply with the policy (no exceptions).
Do I need to obtain evidence of clearances if I am a certified teacher, but not currently teaching?
Certification and clearances are two separate issues. If you are not teaching and do not have evidence that you have the necessary clearances to work in a school district, you must apply for clearances before participating in any field experiences.
How do I know which clearances are on file?
WebAdvisor displays clearance information in the Test Summary section of the student menu. If a letter is on file WebAdvisor will state: principal ltr on file. If you send individual documents, note that MU assumes students perform their field experiences in Pennsylvania and may consider you uncleared unless WebAdvisor displays the following four codes:
- FBIPA (special FBI background check for Pennsylvania, required since 2007)
- A034 (Act 34, PA Criminal Records Check)
- A151 (Act 151, PA Child Abuse History Clearance)
- TBTN (TB Tine test)
So, what happens if I don't submit my clearances evidence?
Students may not participate in field experience assignments unless clearance evidence is on file. Without written documentation your instructor can not accept assignments requiring contact with public school children and must give you a 0 grade. No exceptions!!! Further, if you have a clearance "hold" on your record you will not be able to register for classes (new policy since Spring 2009).
What if I teach overseas?
See the policy below for international students.
Well, I began my teaching career before clearances were mandatory and was grandfathered in. Am I exempt?
Ok, one exception. If you have been "grandfathered in" just have your building principal sign the letter of evidence and state that you have been teaching since before clearances were required by your district.
Which courses require field experiences?
The courses below require one or more on-site activities, some of which may be performed by phone. For specifics see our detailed Listing:
- LSC 5501 (Instructional Collaboration)
- LSC 5515 (Collection Management)
- LSC 5521 (Cataloging)
- LSC 5525 (Strategic Library Management)
- LSC 5565 (Practicum)
How do I obtain a Criminal History background check?
Information about criminal background checks is available at PDE's Act 34 and 151 Background Checks page. Once there scroll down to the section marked, FEDERAL (FBI) CRIMINAL HISTORY REPORT
Are there other criminal checks?
Yes. As of Feb. 2012 PDE requires all individuals who work in a Pennsylvanian school to submit Form PDE-6004 (Arrests/Convictions Report). Students who do not comply will not be allowed to register for future courses. Please download, complete and mail the form to Jill Scott (Retan 202 Mansfield University, Mansfield, PA 16933).
Where do I get finger printed?
For PA residents visit the home page of Cogent Systems, the agency tasked with Fingerprint Services for Pennsylvania. Eventually, each IU will establish its own fingerprint center. Residents of other states should consult their schools for the location of similar services or check with your local police department or highway patrol. You might also try an Internet search using the keywords "Fingerprint Criminal Background Checks" plus the name of your state. Alternatively, find a listing for your state's Dept of Criminal Justice Services (most states have such an office).
Who says students need to do this?
Mansfield University and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Clearances Policy for all SL&IT Students
To comply with a recent interpretation of policy from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), MU has adopted a new mandatory policy regarding student experiences in public schools (i.e. field experiences). This policy affects any student who visits a school or school library as an assignment for any course (not just practicum).
Prior to participating in any field experiences for an SL&IT course, students who are already certified teachers will need to send evidence that they have met the clearances required for the state in which they reside or in which they perform a field experience. Students can submit evidence in two ways:
- Students can submit a letter signed by a building principal stating that they have met the clearances requirements of their state, or
- Students can submit copies of their clearances.
Students who are not certified teachers must meet all requirements for PA clearances: Act 34, Act 151, TB test, and an FBI background check (finger printing). See PDE's Background Checks page for more information. Students should then mail the form letter or copies of the clearance to the SL&IT office, in care of:
Ms. Jill Scott, 202 Retan, Mansfield University, Mansfield, PA 16933
If a student is teaching in an international school, and that school requires any clearances, the clearances policy pertains. However, if there are no clearances requirements in the school outside the US, email Jill Scott (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the following statement:
I, ______________, do not reside in the United States and the school where I will be doing my field experiences, ____ (Name of school and country) does not require clearances.
Students who have not submitted evidence that they have met state clearances requirements will not be permitted to participate in any field experience assignments.