The Environmental Protection Agency is easing requirements for certification of pesticide applicators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In temporary guidance issued July 27, the agency says it’s preapproving through the end of the year certain changes to state plans, including allowing states to rely upon training or testing conducted by a different certifying authority and offering remote, internet-based training or testing conducted by a third party.

EPA also will allow the extension of certification or recertification periods for applicators whose certifications are expiring, so long as the current certification does not extend beyond five years.

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“One challenge reported by most certifying authorities is that candidates for certification and recertification may be unable to take in-person exams and/or training that are required … because of exam and training provider closures” due to the pandemic, EPA said in the temporary guidance. "Because circumstances vary around the country, EPA anticipates that certifying authorities may choose different approaches to modify their certification programs to accommodate applicators resulting from COVID-19 disruptions."

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