Modified Background Studies Process Remains in Place for Now

Members have raised questions this week about background studies, so we wanted to share an update about what we know:   

DHS Continues to Conduct Temporarily Modified Background Studies for Now

The temporary changes to backgrounds studies implemented on April 6 due to COVID-19 remain in place at the present time.  The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) maintains its authority to suspend fingerprinting through the end of the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency, as declared by the Governor’s Executive Order, which currently extends through July 13, 2020.   

Governor Walz may or may not take action to extend the Peacetime Emergency by another 30 days. If he does not, DHS will have 60 days from July 13 to return to the normal, fingerprint-based background checks. 

The DHS Background Studies Division is developing plans for the anticipated end of the Peacetime Emergency (whether that occurs on July 13 or on a later date, in the event Governor Walz chooses to extend the emergency period). They will share that instructions for transitioning back to standard procedures as soon details are completed. 

June 30 Deadline Affected Some Pending Studies

There is one change that took effect on June 30. At the time DHS launched the emergency background studies without fingerprinting (April 6), a number of studies had already been submitted to the NETStudy system, but the fingerprinting had not been completed.  

DHS had been holding those studies open so the submitting organizations could complete the process, if they had access to one of the few fingerprinting sites open to the public. However, DHS closed those studies out effective June 30. So, if an organization has individuals in that “pending” group, a new study will have to be initiated using the temporary modified process that’s been in place since April 6.  This June 30 action does not mean standard studies with fingerprinting are resuming on July 1. As noted above, that will happen at some period after the Peacetime Emergency ends. 

Looking Ahead

It’s important for members to know that when fingerprint-based background studies resume:

  • All study subjects who received a modified emergency study will need to submit a new background study with fingerprints to ensure full compliance with state requirements
  • Some individuals who cleared the modified background study may be disqualified when the fully compliant studies resume.

More than 25,000 emergency studies have been conducted since April 6, including aging services providers, childcare providers and other affected essential workers. DHS is aware of the strong potential for bottlenecks to arise during the return to normal and will address those issues in its planning

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