Skip to main content

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education



The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE®) recognizes that there are times of local, regional, or national emergency or disaster that may delay or in other ways compromise communications between occupational therapy educational programs, the AOTA Accreditation Department, and ACOTE members. It may also disrupt the operation of programs and classes. For the purpose of this policy/procedure, such an emergency or disaster must impact, or be perceived as potentially impacting, operations and/or communications for at least a 1-month period.

In order to avoid unintentional injury to students, programs, or other stakeholders during times of emergency or disaster, the following policy will be followed.

  1. The program director or administrator is requested to contact the Accreditation Department as soon as physically possible after the emergency/disaster to inform accreditation staff of any expected short- or long-term impact on the program and its ability to remain in compliance with the Standards. If there is no communication within 2 weeks, the Accreditation Department staff will attempt to contact the program director and administrators of the impacted program by electronic means, telephone, and mail.
  2. Once communication is established, the program director or administrator will be asked to consider a request for special consideration by ACOTE under the emergency/disaster policy.
  3. Requests for special consideration must include the following information:
    • The nature of the impact on the program and students.
    • The tentative plan and timeline for resumption of classes and other services by the educational program.
    • Contact information for the program director and administrator.
    • Status of the students during the interim period, if any.
    • Length of time for special consideration. (Requests may be granted for a period of time up to 6 months.)
  4. Upon receipt of the request, the Accreditation Department staff will forward the request to the ACOTE reviewers assigned to the program.
  5. Action to grant or deny emergency/disaster special consideration will occur within 2 weeks of receipt of the required information and a written request from the program director or administrator based on the verbal and written information supplied by the program director or administrator.
    • If the two reviewers are unable to agree upon action, or length of the term, or believe that the entire ACOTE membership should be involved, a conference call or other rapid method of information sharing and decision making will be requested.
    • During the period of special consideration, submission by the program of any requested information (e.g., Plan of Correction, Progress Report, Annual Report, Interim Report, or Report of Self-Study) or other action by the program may be delayed without negative consequences. If an on-site evaluation is scheduled during the granted period, it will be rescheduled.
  6. One extension of the special consideration term may be granted for good cause, for up to 3 months with written information from the program director or administrator explaining the rationale for an extension. The maximum period a program may be granted special consideration under this policy is 9 months (6 months initially, followed by a 3-month extension).
  7. Information will be placed on the ACOTE Web site ( indicating the period for which the program was granted special consideration status as a result of the emergency or disaster.
  8. At the end of the special consideration period, the program director or administrator will be informed of the timeline for the submission of any previously requested reports.

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education