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Response to Covid 19

Status Report: Virtual Accreditation Visits

In response to the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Middle States in May 2020 made the difficult but necessary decision to develop a virtual accreditation visit model for schools approaching accreditation/reaccreditation in 2020-2021. Since our launch in August, we are pleased to confirm that 133 schools have successfully hosted their accreditation visit virtually.

Last month, due to the continuing health and safety challenges, the decision was made to continue the virtual visit model for Spring 2021 visits as well.As the final accreditation visits of the semester conclude, we are reviewing post-visit survey data, conducting focus groups, and putting in place modifications as needed for our 2021 visits.

We received feedback in a post-visit survey from more than half of our team leaders and school leaders, in addition to one-on-one follow up communications with our staff.

The overwhelming feedback from schools was a sincere appreciation for the visiting teams, who volunteered while managing their personal and professional lives during the pandemic. We echo these words of appreciation and applaud both the schools who invited teams into their schools during this time, and the volunteers who shared their time and expertise.

To read more click [here]
Visit Preparation Resources for Schools Hosting 2020-2021 Visits 
Are you a school leader of one of the nearly one hundred schools preparing to host a virtual or blended accreditation visit this spring? Please click here for a full set of resources to help you prepare. Have you attended a Hosting your Team Visit training? Click here for more information about these 90 minute small group online training sessions. We recommend that you use the [Checklist for Schools Hosting a Visit] as a guide for your preparations. The Checklist walks through each step of the process and provides links to related materials.
MSA Moves to Virtual/Blended Visits for Fall 2020

Earlier this summer, MSA surveyed the school leaders of all Spring 2020 postponed visits and all Fall 2020 planned visits to ascertain how MSA could best support schools during this time. The vast majority of school leaders responded that moving forward with their accreditation visit was a priority. They also were supportive of the visit being virtual if need be. After gathering this data and determining that developing a virtual or blended model for accreditation visits was a priority for our members, MSA staff spent the summer working on developing a visit model that would be resilient to whatever the fall might bring for our schools.

As a result, all team visits for 2020-2021 will be held virtually; however, where possible, the chairperson may go onsite for one day. Please [click here] to see an overview of the visit structure that highlights differences from the traditional approach.

All accreditation visits from mid-March 2020 through the end of the school year were, of course, postponed. Those postponed visits plus the schools originally planning to host a Fall 2020 visit have now been either scheduled for Fall 2020 or given an extension until Spring 2021 when requested.

We are pleased to confirm that we have scheduled more than 75 team visits for this fall, and are grateful to our schools’ ongoing commitment to peer review as evidenced by more than 300 educators volunteering their time and expertise to serve as accreditation visitors.

To read the full news post, click here.
Connecting the MSA Global Community
On April 3 and April 7, 2020 we held open forums with our school leaders from around the world and across the country. It was a time of sharing advice and resources, encouraging one another, asking questions, and connecting as an educational community. We heard from online schools and schools recently making the shift to virtual instruction, from schools in New Jersey to Pakistan, from schools modifying their curriculum to an online format to support early childhood, special education, and parents. Most importantly, we came away encouraged and supported that we are all in this together.

Thank you to each of you who are going to amazing lengths as a school leader to support your school communities through this crisis, while managing the impact on your own life as well. We are inspired by your resilience.
One of the main themes in the webinar discussion was the importance of communication. It sounds a simple theme, but whether it be disseminating information, supporting positive mental health, instructing online, or providing social connections and outlets- quality communication has never been more important.
 If you were not able to communicate with us directly during the forums, don’t worry! Both recorded webinars are available for viewing below. And, as always, the MSA staff is available to you; our list of staff contacts is available [here] or you can always reach us at
We will be offering additional forums for sharing and additional resources based on these initial discussions. We will post and share details as soon as they are available.
Resources to Support Online Instruction
We continue to update our resource bank to support schools making the transition to online teaching and learning. You can visit our resources page here.
Communications to MSA-CESS Membership
Updated March 27, 2020

In response to continued school closures and the projected timelines for resuming normal travel and school operations, we have deemed it necessary to postpone all previously scheduled accreditation visits through May. All schools and volunteers impacted by this decision have been contacted directly.

MSA-CESS services and office operations remain uninterrupted as our staff continues to work remotely. Please reach out directly to your accreditation liaison or any member of our staff for any questions that arise or support that you need, and you can always reach us at

All previously scheduled onsite workshops have been moved to an online format. A full list of upcoming self-study workshops can be found here. A full list of accreditation team volunteer trainings can be found [here.]

We are continually updating our library of resources for online learning on our website. We hope that they will be helpful to you as you navigate the coming weeks.

Our best wishes for continued health and strength for you and your school communities.

Updated March 13, 2020

Due to the rapidly changing situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing number of school closures in the region, the MSA leadership team has deemed it necessary to postpone all accreditation visit activities through April 18, 2020.

This decision includes all accreditation visits for which MSA is the lead agency. For some cooperative accreditation visits (schools pursuing accreditation by two agencies), schools located in regions not affected may still be able to move forward with their visits. In those instances, in consultation with MSA, your lead accreditation agency will be in touch to make that determination.

The safety and peace of mind of our volunteers and our school communities is our first priority. We recognize that all parties involved are currently managing crisis planning in their own schools and we want to ensure that visits occur when the schools and volunteers can give the accreditation visit the focus it deserves.

We know the significant work schools have put into preparing for their visits, and we look forward to sending in teams to validate that work as soon as possible. We hope to reschedule visits before the end of the school year, should the situation stabilize. If this is not possible, visits will be scheduled for early next school year.

If there is any way we can support you as you manage this emerging situation in your own schools and communities, or if you have questions or concerns, please contact me at or 267-284-5044.


Lisa Marie McCauley, Ed.D., CPA and the MSA Team
Originally posted March 11, 2020
Middle States’ leadership and volunteer management teams are closely monitoring the current coronavirus global health emergency. We are regularly consulting guidelines issued by local government agencies and leading health authorities including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The health and safety of our volunteers and school communities is our first priority. To that end, we have made the difficult decision to postpone visits to schools or regions where there is a heightened risk of infection. We will work closely with each of these schools to reschedule team visits as soon as the situation warrants.

At this stage, in consultation with all involved schools, the majority of accreditation visit activities outside of the United States have been postponed for the next four weeks. Domestic U.S. visits are being assessed on a case-by-case basis, as the situation evolves. We are reaching out directly to all schools scheduled to host visits this month as well as each volunteer participating on an accreditation visit to determine the best path forward.

We are continuing to assess this evolving situation and will provide updates as necessary.

We know MSA accredited schools across the country and around the world, as well as our own office, are working hard to develop and/or implement emergency plans for this rapidly evolving situation. We are proud of the resilience many of our schools are demonstrating as they shift to online learning in the wake of school closures. To that end, we will be sharing and updating suggested online learning resources from our member schools on our website here.

If there is any way we can support you as you manage this emerging situation in your own schools and communities, or if you have questions or concerns, please contact me at or 267-284-5044.


Lisa Marie McCauley, Ed.D., CPA and the MSA Team