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Science Memos, Waivers, and Guidance

This page houses valuable science memos, waivers, and guidance to help assist educators and administrators in the field. Questions about science education in New York State can be directed to



Science Laboratory Guidance

In September 2022, the Board of Regents made an Amendment to Section 100.5 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education relating to the Laboratory Experience Required in order to take a Regents Examination in Science. Commissioner’s regulations now permanently allow students to complete their science laboratory experiences required for taking a Regents Examination in science through any combination of hands-on and simulated experiences, and includes virtual laboratory experiences. The 1,200 minutes of required laboratory experiences and satisfactorily documented laboratory reports are still required in order to sit for a science Regents exam. Additional guidance can be referenced in the Frequently Asked Questions Related to Virtual Laboratory Experiences and the 1,200-minute Laboratory Requirement.

Chemistry Guidance

  • Chemical Storage Guidelines – This NYSED publication is intended to provide school faculty and staff with chemical storage guidelines pursuant to New York State Education Law, '305(19) Chapter 627 of the Laws of 1989.
  • New York State School Chemical Management Guidance Manual  – This publication developed in cooperation with the New York State Department of Conservation provides a framework to accomplish a complete assessment and inventory of the chemicals used and stored by a school district. It also provides guidance on a sustainable chemical management system and chemical hygiene plan.
  • Managing Mercury - The Department of Environmental Conservation has created a page to answer many of the most commonly asked questions about mercury. Information regulating air emissions, educating the public on products that contain mercury, remediating and preventing hazardous spills, assisting businesses in finding mercury-free alternatives to needed equipment, monitoring water and habitats to keep toxic levels safe for fish, wildlife and humans are addressed.

School Chemistry Laboratory Safety Guide:


Application Form for Commissioner of Education Waiver Education Law §809(5) Treatment of Live Vertebrate Animals:

Education Law §809 (5) provides that no school district, school principal, administrator, or teacher shall permit the performance of certain specified types of lessons or experimental studies on live vertebrate animals in the school or during an activity conducted under the school’s auspices. These activities are prohibited whether or not they take place on school premises.  For example, a teacher may not allow a student to conduct the prohibited experiments on live vertebrate animals for a school sponsored science fair even if the experiment is conducted at a research institution. 

Under certain circumstances, the Commissioner may grant a waiver from this restriction upon a school’s submission of a written program plan. The school district must obtain a waiver before the lesson or experimentation begins. Instructions for applying for such a waiver and the appropriate forms are provided in the document.

Note: Only projects involving the use of live vertebrate animals as indicated in New York State Education Law §809(5) should apply for a waiver.