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​Fingerprinting

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About
Act 18 of 2020 During COVID-19

Signed into law on May 8, 2020, Act 18 of 2020 (Act 18) provides additional time for school employees to renew their FBI fingerprint-based background checks due to the pandemic. Act 18 does not apply to new hires in schools.

Under Act 18, employees of public, private, and nonpublic schools, as well as independent contractors and their employees who work with schools, have until December 31, 2020 to renew their FBI fingerprint-based background checks at an approved IdentoGO location.

Due to the pandemic, do current educators and school employees and independent contractors and their employees have additional time to renew their federal background checks?

Yes. Under Act 18 of 2020 (Act 18) individuals required to renew their FBI fingerprint-based background checks every 60 months, as found in Section 6344.4 of the Child Protective Services Law, have until December 31, 2020 to complete this process. This includes, but is not limited to, employees of public, private and nonpublic schools, including their independent contractors and their employees, who have direct contact with children, including virtual contact. 

The renewal extension provided under Act 18 only applies to their FBI fingerprint-based background checks. It does not provide additional time for school employees to renew other required clearances (Pennsylvania State Police Criminal History Record and Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Child Abuse Report).

Although Act 18 provides a renewal extension for the FBI fingerprint-based background check, efforts should be made to obtain the renewal as soon as possible.

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services website offers additional guidance about clearances for school employees. (PDF)

How does Act 18 of 2020 impact new hires by schools?

The requirements for new school employees have not changed.

Section 1-111 of the Public School Code requires all prospective employees of public and private schools, career and technical schools, and intermediate units, including their independent contractors and their employees, but excluding employees who do not have direct contact with students, to undergo background checks prior to employment.

However, per Section 1-111, individuals may be employed for a single period, not to exceed 90 days, if the following conditions are met:

  • The applicant has applied for the Pennsylvania State Police Criminal History Check, Statewide Child Abuse History Check, and the FBI fingerprint-based background check and they provide a copy of the appropriate completed request forms to their employer.

  • The applicant has completed the Act 168 Employment History Review. 

  • The employer has no knowledge of information pertaining to the applicant which would disqualify them from employment.

  • The applicant swears or affirms in writing, by completing PDE-6004 Arrest/Conviction Report and Certification Form, that the applicant is not disqualified from employment pursuant to the grounds for denying employment in § 111 (e) or (f.1) or has not been convicted of an offense of a similar nature to those crimes under the laws or former laws of the United States, or one of its territories or possessions, another state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or a foreign nation, or under a former law of this Commonwealth.

  • The applicant is not permitted to work alone with children and must work in the immediate vicinity of a permanent employee.

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services website offers additional guidance about clearances for school employees. (PDF)

How does Act 18 impact student teachers?

Section 1-111 of the Public School Code requires student teachers to submit background checks to their institution of higher education prior to participating in field experiences and student teaching. Act 18 of 2020 does not change these requirements.

Am I allowed to go to a fingerprinting site if I live in an area under the Governor's Stay at Home Order?

Yes. Since fingerprinting is a condition of employment for some individuals, including educators and school employees, it is acceptable to travel to an IdentiGo location during the Governor's stay-at-home order.

Where can I go for fingerprinting services?

The commonwealth contracts with IdentoGO by IDEMIA (also referred to as "MorphoTrust") for digital fingerprinting services. You can register with IDEMIA online and be fingerprinted at an IdentoGo site.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, there is a temporary reduction in the number of centers available for fingerprint appointments. A map of open IdentoGO locations is available on the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services website. This map is not updated daily. Individuals should confirm the site hours of operation and availability before visiting the location or scheduling an appointment.

Am I required to wear a mask while onsite at an IdentoGO location?

Yes. The Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health requires everyone to wear a cloth face covering / mask while onsite at an IdentoGO location. Only the scheduled applicant will be allowed to enter. This directive remains in place until the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania advises otherwise.