December 14, 2020—As detailed below NCCCO continues to abide by new protocols that permit continued written (paper/pencil and computer-based) and practical testing safely during COVID-19. With social distancing and frequent disinfecting, candidates and certificants—and those who administer the exams—can continue testing in a safe environment. Candidates who are ill, presenting with fever, cough, or respiratory symptoms, including flu-like symptoms, are not permitted to test and should adhere to the emergency cancellation policy as found in the candidate handbooks.
NCCCO continues to work with Test Site Coordinators to schedule and hold paper/pencil test administrations at locations that meet necessary safety precautions as directed by national, state, and local authorities, including the following guidelines:
- Provide a thoroughly sanitized location for all individuals involved, including tables, chairs, pencils, and other testing materials.
- Ensure the testing facility complies with 6 ft. social distancing guidelines during registration, breaks, and testing stations.
- Ensure there is appropriate spacing for one candidate per each 6 ft. table.
- Make hand sanitizer and tissue available to candidates, chief examiners, and proctors.
- Regularly clean all frequently touched surfaces at the testing facility, including doorknobs, desktops, testing tables, etc.
NCCCO’s computer-based testing (CBT) partner, PSI, has implemented policies at its testing centers to keep candidates and employees safe and minimize disruptions to testing services. Candidates can find real-time current availability of sites usable for NCCCO testing at www.nccco.org/cbtlocations.
Some of the safety protocols adopted at CBT exams include:
- Once scheduled for an appointment, candidates are emailed a short health questionnaire which they are required to bring with them to their CBT appointment. If a candidate forgets this form, PSI will provide one at the testing center. Candidates who answer “yes” to any question are required to reschedule.
- Candidates are required to wear a face covering while inside testing centers. Candidates are asked to remove the mask briefly during check-in to verify identity and take a photo. Candidates who do not wear a face covering are not permitted to test.
- Candidates may wear gloves during testing. Gloves are examined during the check-in and check-out process for security.
- Test center staff are required to wear face masks, and provided with hand sanitizer, and antibacterial wipes. Note that PSI does not provide face masks for candidates.
- In order to adhere to social distancing guidelines, candidates may be asked to wait outside of the building for a brief period before check-in.
- Signage regarding PPE requirements and social distancing protocols is displayed prominently throughout the test center. Candidates are expected to comply with all site procedures.
- Seating availability has been reduced in certain testing centers based on various jurisdictional orders or guidelines.
- Testing equipment is wiped down thoroughly with antibacterial wipes after each use.
- High-touch areas, including but not limited to, keyboards, desktops, chars, door handles, check-in stations, and writing instruments are sanitized after each use.
NCCCO has issued the following guidance to its Practical Examiners for safely conducting practical exams:
- Practical Examiners and Test Site Coordinators shall follow all applicable federal/state/local directives and guidelines.
- During all practical examinations, persons should practice enhanced sanitation procedures, including:
- Ensuring all facilities are thoroughly cleaned, including the briefing/waiting room
- Providing hand washing facilities and/or hand sanitizer, including before and after exchange of ID and paperwork
- Encourage persons to use their own pens to sign score sheets or provide inexpensive pens to candidates and proctors
- During all practical examinations, persons should practice social distancing, including:
- Maintaining a distance of 6 ft. from other persons whenever possible
- Providing ample room for candidates to spread out (or gather in smaller groups) while viewing the candidate video
- In connection with practical examinations in operator programs:
- Operator cab/controls, remote controls, etc. are disinfected between candidates
- If necessary, use radios or other electronic means to communicate while maintaining adequate distances
- Where possible, take wind direction into account and stand with wind blowing in between individuals (not downwind)
- In connection with practical examinations in the rigger program:
- All rigging components (with the exception of synthetic slings) are sprayed with disinfectant between candidates
- Where possible, latex or rubber gloves are provided to candidates
- For knot tying, the candidate should lay the tied rope on the table or leave it on the tube, depending on the knot
- When the candidate says “done,” the examiner asks the candidate to allow room for the examiner to evaluate the task
- In connection with practical examinations in the signalperson program, testing is almost always indoors and sometimes in smaller rooms. Examiners and candidates should maintain 6 ft. of space, as with other programs, and allow a candidate to clear before bringing in the next one.
Given NCCCO’s “essential” status, CCO certification testing will continue to be available without interruption as long as current conditions and local jurisdictions permit. For the latest updates on NCCCO’s COVID-19 response, go to www.nccco.org/COVID-19.