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ServSafe - COVID-19 Instructor Proctor Updates

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ServSafe Instructor/Proctor
Coronavirus Information & FAQs

Last updated: May 11, 2020

As the industry faces the ongoing challenges with COVID-19, the National Restaurant Association and ServSafe remain dedicated to helping everyone stay safe. Food safety and education are more critical now than ever before. The work that instructors and exam proctors do has never been more vital.

We know that you have questions about how to keep students safe in the classroom, how you can use technology to continue teaching and conducting exams, and how exams and exam results will be affected. We have tried to answer the most frequently asked questions below. If you have other questions, please use online chat or text to talk to our Customer Care team.

Topics include:

  • ServSafe Exam Shipping and Scoring Update
  • ServSafe Recommended Classroom Training Procedures
  • ServSafe Manager Exam Procedures – Paper-Based Exams Conducted in Person
  • ServSafe Manager Exam Procedures – Online Exams Conducted in Person 
  • Additional FAQs 


Rush/Overnight Shipments At this time, we can no longer provide print exams. If you are in immediate need of exams, we encourage you to utilize our online exam delivery platform. 

Exam Processing: In response to the Illinois “Shelter in Place” requirement, the shipment of all ServSafe food safety paper-based exams must be halted as of March 20, 2020.  All ServSafe exams received on or before March 19 have been processed and completed. Exams received on or after March 20 will be processed when we can resume grading exams. We will continue to score any online exams. If you have conducted exams and sent us shipments, the shipping companies have been advised to return them to you. We will evaluate the Illinois “Shelter in Place” order on May 25 and, if we can return to the office, we anticipate being able to start shipping paper-based exams and grading exams again after May 31. We will update this information as we learn the plans and directives of the state.

Rescheduling/Cancelled Exam Administrations: We have extended our deadline for rescheduling exam sessions. Exam materials for cancelled exam sessions may be kept for up to 90 days from the date of the originally scheduled exam. The exam must be rescheduled within that 90 day timeframe. Exams for cancelled exam sessions that will not be rescheduled within 90 days can be returned as usual, using the prepaid UPS return label and the envelope enclosed with the exam package.

Please contact our Customer Care department at servicecenter@restaurant.org if you need to reschedule exam sessions so we can note the change in our system. Exam materials for rescheduled exam dates must be maintained in secure locations by proctors until they are used or returned.


Virtual Learning/Virtual classes

Teaching any ServSafe classes, regardless of the program (i.e. ServSafe Manager, ServSafe Food Handler and ServSafe Alcohol etc.), virtually via internet-based classroom instruction using a service such as Skype, Zoom, Webex, Facebook live etc. is not allowed and is considered a violation of the ServSafe Instructor Performance Agreement, ServSafe Brand Guidelines, and Copyright and Trademark Policies.  As a reminder, these policies include the appropriate use of the ServSafe brand and training materials, including but not limited to the following components:

  • When delivering a food safety class that is called "ServSafe", Instructor/Proctor agrees to only use any available and appropriate ServSafe® instructional materials, media, and methods in the delivery of the Program. – For Clarification: An Instructor/Proctor or company cannot use the ServSafe name and/or logo to promote training or exams that is are not affiliated directly with the ServSafe program.
  • Solutions’ policies require that each participant receive (via purchase or loan) a copy of a ServSafe® textbook to refer to in preparation for the Exam. For Clarification: Electronic versions of the ServSafe book or any modification thereof are not allowed.
  • Instructor/Proctor will only reproduce, post, or alter Solutions materials if Instructor/Proctor has received explicit written permission to do so from Solutions. – For Clarification: Recording or posting a live training session will not be approved and is a violation of guidelines. If a recorded class is posted, an Instructor/Proctor could receive a cease and desist letter for copyright and trademark violation.
  • Instructor/Proctor will not place Instructor/Proctor’s own logo on Solutions content or materials.
  • Instructor/Proctor will use accurate, descriptive tag lines when identifying your connection to the ServSafe brand as a Certified ServSafe Instructor. For Clarification: Make sure that your company name or individual name appears as the primary focus when identifying yourself. The ServSafe name or logo may not be used in place of, as part of, or instead of your own organization’s identity.
  • Usage of the ServSafe logos as the main profile picture or within any “feed” is strictly prohibited on Social Media. If you would like to incorporate a picture that will identify your instructor or proctor status, the you can request approved images for use as part of a trademark permission request.
  • Any parties who wish to use the ServSafe logo must explicitly receive permission before placing it in any materials, on social media or on a Web site. This right is granted through a permissions request form. You can also email to request a form at ServSafe@restaurant.org.

In-person classes/exam sessions

We recommend the following guidelines for trainers that continue to offer in person classes/exam sessions during COVID19:

Prior to Class/Exam Attendance

Call and speak to each attendee directly at least 2 days prior to the scheduled class or exam date to confirm they have not experienced COVID-19 symptoms prior to attending the class or exam session. If an attendee answers yes to any one of these questions, ask them to reschedule to another class 14 days or more later as an additional safety measure to other attendees:

  • Do you have a fever OR symptoms of upper or lower respiratory illness such as cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or sore throat?
  • Have you travelled internationally within the last month or recently traveled to an area with known local spread of COVID-19?
  • Have you come into close contact (within 6 feet) with someone who has had symptoms such as fever, lower respiratory illness such as cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or sore throat in the last 14 days?

Make sure the conversation is about protecting the class.  These conversations should remain private between you and the student and should not be shared. If anyone expresses concern, it should be noted that the questions are purely to protect everyone in the class.  Simply suggest that the student return home and see a healthcare professional who can formally decide if there is a healthcare or COVID-19 concern.

Room Set-up

  • Have approved sanitary wipes and boxes of tissues available for your class.
  • Students should receive their own set of classroom material. 
  • Require students to bring their own pens, pencils for exams and notepaper.
  • Stagger seating as best as possible to maintain a distance of 6’ per the social distancing guidelines.  
  • Assure that, as an instructor, you have a location 6’ away from students to instruct. Teaching from a podium will maintain your distance decreasing the opportunity of your interacting within the 6’ social distance space. If needed, use tape to show what a distance of 6ft is.
  • Have a place for attendees to put unauthorized belongings where they will not touch other attendee’s belongings, for anyone that brings more than the required materials.
  • A video/activity blended approach is still the best way to teach the material.  When using activities, select those that can be done maintain the six-foot perimeter.  Food Safety Puzzles, Food Showdown and additional review questions are some examples of current activates that are found on the instructor resource page of servsafe.com.
  • Limit use of activities, which require sharing of markers, pens, and notepads.
  • If water is provided, use bottled water instead of pitchers.


  • If you currently use a third-party location to host your sessions, have discussions with the facilities management as to how they are maintaining proper safety and sanitation practices so your room is prepared for your arrival for every class and exam session.
  • If your sessions are in facilities you oversee, use proper washing and sanitizing techniques prior to and between each classroom session.  This may require additional time to assure that table, chairs, entry doors and all equipment are properly wiped and sanitized before each class.


Administering a ServSafe Manager Print-Based Exam

Follow the guidelines to administer the ServSafe Manager Print-Based Examination as found in the Exam Administration Handbook.  We also recommend taking these additional steps maintain proper safety and sanitation practices during the online exam session:

  • Require students to bring their own pencils as reusing that material can prompt an unsafe opportunity.
  • Have exam booklets and exam answer sheets laid out on tables/desks prior to examinee arrival.  Wear surgical gloves as you distribute exam booklets, answer sheets, and set up the exam location.   Do not touch your face.
  • Pre-print examinees names on paper and place the paper with their names on a check-in table. Printed names should be separated to prevent one examinee touching another examinee’s paper.  
  • Instruct examinees to enter the location one at a time, maintaining a distance of at least 6ft from other examinees. If needed, use tape to show what a distance of 6ft is.
  • Instruct each examinee to locate their name on the check in table and place their ID on the paper with their name.
  • After placing their ID by their name, instruct them to take an available exam seat. Once all examinees are seated, using surgical gloves verify the examinees IDs and make note of any absent examinees prior to providing exam instructions and beginning the exam.
  • Maintain your distance throughout exam, monitoring the exam administration at no closer than within the 6ft social distance space.
  • Examinees should be instructed to seal their exam booklet in the provided envelope after completing the exam.  They should be instructed to raise their hand once they have completed this procedure.
  • Examinees should leave their exam materials at their seat, and then proceed to the table to retrieve their ID, any personal belongings and leave the location. Only allow one person to leave the location at a time, always maintaining a 6ft distance.
  • Once all examinees have completed the exam and left, collect the exam materials and place in packaging to return to National Restaurant Association Solutions for scoring using the prepaid label if after April 10th. Prior to April 10th, place in secure storage until the exams can be shipped for exam scoring.
  • Only after all materials are packaged, should you remove the gloves, wash, and sanitize your hands.


If an exam session is not available, consider appointing someone to become a proctor to administer the ServSafe Manager Exam.

Proctor Requirements:

Registered Proctors are responsible for the secure administration of the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification Exam and are required to:

  • Administer online and/or print exams.
  • Maintain a secure test environment.
  • Protect the confidentiality of exam content
  • Refrain from administering exams in situations that may present a conflict of interest (e.g., proctoring the exam of a family member or relative)
  • Follow the standards and ethics outlined in the ServSafe Examination Administration Handbook and Performance Agreement

Proctors do not teach classes or receive the instructor benefits. They only proctor the ServSafe Manager Exam. In order to become a ServSafe Manager Exam Proctor, applicants must:

  • View the “Learn More” Tutorial.
  • Take the Proctor Tutorial and Quiz.
  • Review and agree to brand standards.
  • Review and agree to performance standards ad complete the application.

For more information, view the Become a Registered ServSafe Proctor page.

Administering a ServSafe Manager Online Exam

Follow the guidelines to administer the ServSafe Manager Online Examination as found in the Exam Administration Handbook.  We also recommend taking these additional steps maintain proper safety and sanitation practices during the online exam session:

  • Have approved sanitary wipes and boxes of tissues available for your exam session.
  • Ensure the table, chairs, entry doors and equipment, including but not limited to the computer, keyboard, and mouse, are properly wiped and sanitized before each exam session.
  • Instruct examinee to wash and sanitize their hands prior to entering the room.
  • Have the examinee place their ID on a piece of the paper on the table next to the computer.
  • After placing the ID on the piece of paper, instruct the examinee to take a seat at the computer. Using surgical gloves verify the examinees IDs.
  • Maintain your distance throughout exam, monitoring the exam administration at no closer than within the 6ft social distance space.
  • Once the examinee has completed the exam, wipe and sanitize the table, chairs, entry doors and equipment. Remove the gloves, wash, and sanitize your hands.


How can I best ensure the safety and sanitization in a class/exam meeting room?

  • Official guidance for operations during the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve. 
  • The latest Federal information regarding the coronavirus may be found at Restaurant.org/COVID19Pease refer to your state and local jurisdictions for additional requirements.
  • Class Size:  On March 16, 2020, the White House issued guidance recommending that individuals and organizations restrict gatherings to no more than 10 people, using social distancing. On March 29th, the timeframe for this guidance was extended to remain in place until April 30th.

How many people can I proctor at a time in light of appropriate safety measures for coronavirus?

As of March 16, 2020, and for 45 days after, White House issued guidance recommends individuals and organizations restrict gatherings to no more than 10, and using social distancing.  If your exam location does not allow for nine examinees spaced at 6ft apart, then please limit the exam session to a number of examinees you can safely proctor at the location. At this time, due to requirements from the American National Standards Institute – Conference for Food Protection (ANSI-CFP) for a secure and accredited exam, the ServSafe Manager Examination can only be administered in person, either via a print answer sheet or the online exam. Please see the instructions about proctoring exams in person.

Can any National Restaurant Association Solutions Exams be proctored virtually?

Until May 31, 2020, if you’re proctoring a ServSafe Alcohol, ServSafe Food Handler, Foundations of Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts (FRMCA) or ManageFirst exam, you may use a virtual proctoring method for Online Exams Only. (You cannot use this method for the accredited ServSafe Manager Examination or the paper-based versions of the exams listed above). You may only proctor one examinee at a time using this method of proctoring and you will need to ensure their location conforms to the usual test location standards and have the examinee show you:

  • the location is conducive to exam testing with no distractions, including additional people within the space.
  • all 4 walls of their testing room.
  • a view of the surface the computer is on, as well as, all round and under the surface.
  • a full view of your examinee and then a close up of their ID to confirm identity.
  • the computer screen so the examinee is not using another web browser or web application during the exam.
  • there is no access to outside materials that could be conducive to cheating or allows for resources to be used to assist the examinee during the exam.
  • that audio is enabled to ensure there are no 3rd parties in the room or inappropriate distractions during the examination.

I have contracted COVID-19 or been in contact with someone that has COVID-19 and need to return my exam packages for grading or canceling.  What should I do?

If you contracted COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone who has contracted COVID-19, please take the following actions to prevent spreading COVID-19:

  1. Seek medical attention.
  2. Please contact the service center at servicecenter@restaurant.org to cancel all future training and exam administration sessions and follow steps 3-5.
  3. Inform students/examinees of your COVID-19 diagnosis/exposure, so they can seek medical attention.
  4. Contact Exam Security at examsecurity@restaurant.org to report your diagnosis/exposure, provide notification of all exam session numbers in your possession.  
  5. Maintain all exam materials/packages in a secure area, sealed, quarantined and ready to be returned for five (5) consecutive days.
  6. After (5) consecutive days where the exam materials have not been handled by any confirmed infected or exposed individual, please have an uninfected/unexposed associate thoroughly clean the return exam envelope using the guidance provided in the CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations document, prior to returning the package via UPS.  If an uninfected/unexposed associate is not available, you may return the exam package(s), after being cleared of COVID-19 by a healthcare professional.

NOTE: If your exam date takes prior to April 10th, please store the exam package in a secure location until it can safely be returned for scoring after the Illinois “Shelter in Place” requirement is lifted and we deem it is safe for our staff to grade exams. At that time, you may ship it to National Restaurant Association Solutions for scoring.

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