Virgin Islands Regulations

Updated August 23, 2017
Notes: This is a stand-alone state chapter. The Virgin Islands did not participate in the review process of this chapter.
State Regulation of Private Schools (Revised July 2009) is the last full report.

Private Schools

Accreditation, Registration, Licensing, and Approval Accreditation, Registration, Licensing, and Approval

  • Accreditation: optional
      The Virgin Islands commissioner of education (commissioner) will accredit parochial or private schools on a voluntary basis if the building, equipment, curriculum and teaching personnel have “efficiency substantially equal” to public schools of like grade. A certificate of accreditation will not be issued unless the commissioner has conducted a qualitative review and assessment, and approved each program or course of study of the school; and, the school has submitted data on its facilities, financial resources, administrative capabilities, and faculty to afford and require of students the completion of an educational program. Accredited schools are subject to annual inspections by the commissioner to determine whether the school’s standards have been maintained. Accredited schools must display the certificate of accreditation in a conspicuous place. The commissioner may recognize a certificate of accreditation issued from recognized regional accrediting agencies. Virgin Islands Code Title 17 (17 V.I.C.) §§192 and 193.
  • Registration: no requirements
  • Licensing: required
      Each nonpublic school must file articles of incorporation as required by 13 V.I.C. chapter 1 or 3. After filing articles of incorporation, the school must obtain a business license from the Virgin Islands Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs as required in 27 V.I.C. §302. 17 V.I.C. §194(c) and (d). Private elementary and secondary schools are subject to an annual license fee of $200. 27 V.I.C. §302.
  • Approval: required if not accredited
    • No nonpublic school may operate in the Virgin Islands without a certificate of operation. The criteria for operation need not be as high as those that qualify a school for a certificate of accreditation. 17 V.I.C. §194. The Virgin Islands Department of Education will review all applications to operate nonpublic schools and issue a certificate of operation if the school satisfies the rules and regulations of the Virgin Islands Board of Education regarding 1) the sufficiency of quality and content of educational courses proposed; 2) the provision of adequate space, equipment, instructional material, and personnel; 3) reasonable enrollment numbers; 4) instructors that hold credentials of their profession; 5) administrators, owners, and directors who are of good and moral reputation and demonstrate professional character; 6) school compliance with local and federal regulations; 7) school records that show student attendance, progress and grades; 8) the school’s financial stability; and 9) a written copy of the course outline, schedule of tuition, fees, and enrollment information. 17 V.I.C. §194.

Teacher Certification

  • All persons teaching in nonpublic schools must be licensed by the Virgin Islands Board of Education. 17 V.I.C. §126.

Length of School Year and Days

  • The school year begins no earlier than the first Tuesday after the first Monday in August and ends not later than the second Friday in June, and the school calendar includes no less than 1080 hours of pupil instruction. 17 V.I.C. §61a.
  • Students attending parochial, denominational, or private schools regularly and punctually and enrolled in the appropriate grade are exempt from attendance in public schools. 17 V.I.C. §85.


  • Seniors attending accredited private or parochial high schools may apply for partial grants for educational or cultural trips abroad. 17 V.I.C. §371.
  • Graduates from parochial high schools are eligible to apply for scholarships in nursing and related medical fields that are awarded by the V.I. commissioner of health. 17 V.I.C. §180.
  • The commissioner is responsible for disseminating materials to private and parochial school for the celebration of George Scott Day, Melvin H. Evans Day, Rothschild Francis Day, Cyril Emmanuel King Day, Virgin Islands Freedom Fighters Day, and Juan Francisco Luis Day. 1 V.I.C. §§180, 186 through 188, 197, and 200c.
  • Nonpublic school libraries may participate in the Virgin Islands Library Network, a cooperative, coordinated, multitype network of libraries located on the Virgin Islands. 3 V.I.C. §28d. In addition, private and parochial school libraries can access public government documents through depository libraries maintained by the territorial librarian. 3 V.I.C. §883.
  • With the permission and cooperation of the head or director of a private or parochial school, the Virgin Islands Board of Elections will conduct voter registration (in election years, at least two weeks prior to the election) and educational programs in conjunction with the registration period. 18 V.I.C. §95.

Recordkeeping and Reports

  • Private, denominational and parochial schools must report the name, age, and grade of every child enrolled, and any other requested information, to the Virgin Islands Department of Education at the opening of school and at other times when directed by the commissioner. 17 V.I.C. §96.
  • Under the Virgin Islands’ nondiscrimination statute, parochial and denominational schools may modify tuition expenses and give preference in admission to members of the religious body maintaining the school. 10 V.I.C. §5.
  • The commissioner has a statutory duty to promulgate rules and regulations to implement the Federal Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act (FERPA) as applicable to private schools to ensure privacy and confidentiality of student education records. 17 V.I.C. §98.
    • Note: FERPA applies to educational agencies and institutions that receive federal funds from programs administered by the United States Department of Education.

Health and Safety Requirements

  • Health services, i.e., medical and dental health appraisals, vaccinations, and immunizations, are provided to private and parochial school students prior to entrance into kindergarten or first grade, fifth grade and ninth grade, or upon entrance to the school if that pupil has not been previously examined at another school. 17 V.I.C. §111. Parents may provide health services at their own expense and furnish the physician’s report to the Virgin Islands Department of Education. 17 V.I.C. §114(c).
  • Individuals apprehended for the distribution of a controlled substance within 1000 feet of a private or parochial school will be sentenced an additional minimum sentence of at least two years of confinement. 19 V.I.C. §604.
  • The Virgin Islands attorney general must notify a private or parochial school if a person required to register under 14 V.I.C. Chapter 86, Sexual Offender Registration and Community Protection, moves within one mile of the school. 14 V.I.C. §1727.
  • Private and parochial schools must apply for a Virgin Islands sex offender background check through the Virgin Islands Department of Justice for all employees and volunteers who work directly with children. A private or parochial school must not hire or retain as an employee or volunteer a person who is listed on a sex offender register. The prospective employee or volunteer must on application to the private or parochial school show government issued photo identification and a social security card. 14 V.I.C. §1729.
  • Smoking is prohibited in the inner and outer property of private and parochial schools. 19 V.I.C. §§1482 and 1483.


  • It is the policy of the Virgin Islands to provide free transportation to school for school-age children residing within and without the urban areas of the Virgin Islands. Full-time private and parochial students are eligible for a public transportation discount card. 17 V.I.C. §101 et seq.


  • No territory policy currently exists.


  • No territory policy currently exists.

Special Education

  • The Virgin Islands Department of Education may contract with private schools to provide services to children with disabilities when the Department is unable to provide such services. 17 V.I.C. §288.

Nursing and Health

  • No territory policy currently exists.


  • No territory policy currently exists.

Professional Development

  • A teacher who has taught for five or more years at a private or parochial school is eligible to apply for the Ruth E. Thomas Scholarship Fund for Teacher Education, a grant program for those pursuing graduate degrees in elementary or secondary education. 17 V.I.C. §190z.

Reimbursement for Performing State and Local Functions

  • No territory policy currently exists.

Tax Exemption

  • No territory policy currently exists.

Public Aid for Private Education

  • Constitutional Provisions: Government subsidies may be granted to nonpublic schools for strictly educational purposes but not to denominational or sectarian schools. 17 V.I.C. §191.
  • Programs for financial assistance for attendance at private schools: No territory policy currently exists.

Home Schools

Initial and Renewal Applications

  • Parents must file with the commissioner of education a Notice of Intent for Home Education form. A notice of intent will be effective for up to one school year and must be filed within 10 days of the start of the home instruction program annually. A completed form is one that provides the name of the parent(s)/guardian(s), along with their addresses, emails and contact numbers; and the name, age and grade level of each student. Parents must also complete the Virgin Islands Department of Education’s withdrawal process for the child. Home Education Policy.

Curriculum and Instruction

  • To qualify as a home education program, the instruction must be provided by a person holding a high school diploma or equivalent. Home Education Policy.
  • A home education program should be 1,080 instruction hours and include in minimum (1) reading, language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and electives for primary-level education; or (2) English, mathematics, science, Virgin Islands culture and history, physical education, foreign language, and digital literacy for secondary-level education. Home Education Policy.

Assessment and Diplomas

  • Home education students must take the Virgin Islands Summative Assessment Tests in grade three, five, seven, and 11. The Virgin Islands Department of Education will designate the location and provide the parent or guardian of record with the results. Home Education Policy.
  • Home education high school students must meet the Virgin Islands’ graduation requirements. Home Education Policy.
  • A student portfolio must be kept and preserved all the years of home education. The portfolio is to include a log of educational activities by date, samples of work including writing samples, worksheets, workbooks, pictures of projects that include a description of the tasks, and evaluations. The portfolio is to be made available for inspection by the Virgin Islands Department of Education. Home Education Policy.
  • The Virgin Islands Department of Education will perform an annual review of the major subjects required for promotion of each student’s record and progress. Home Education Policy.

Public School Access

  • No territory policy currently exists.

Web Resources

Information and Legislation

Contact Information—State and Federal Departments of Education

  • U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education
    1834 Kongens Gade
    Charlotte Amalie, VI 00802
    Phone: 340-774-0100
    Fax: 340-779-7153
  • U.S. Department of Education, Virgin Islands

August 25, 2017