District will administer an in-person PSAT with safety precautions

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Candice Anvari staff writer

The annual PSAT-NMSQT will be administered in-person at Beverly Vista Middle School on Tuesday, Jan. 26. Due to the coronavirus, the district will implement safety precautions to ensure the students’ safety during the exam. 

A total of 55 juniors will take the exam on Tuesday. Before the test begins at 9:00 a.m., students will enter the school from the soccer field to avoid crowding in the main entrance. Additionally, each classroom will contain five students with desks set six-feet apart. The exam proctor will be a member of the administration, because members of the administration have already been on campus prior to this event. Throughout the day, the Department of Health’s guidelines will be followed. If a student is unwilling to follow the guidelines, they will be asked to leave the testing environment.  

The night before the exam, both students and proctors will be sent a QR code to take a health screening in order to determine if anyone identifies with COVID-19 symptoms. 

Assistant Superintendent for Education Services Dustin Seemann believes that the school is “well-equipped” for the juniors to take the exam, as safety and security precautions are put in place. 

“We have equipped each of the schools with something called a thermal temperature solution, which allows for a rapid multiple person detection,” Seemann said. “Once students enter from the side gates, they’ll pass through an actual temperature checking system. By doing this, we can determine if any student does have a temperature. If they do, we will stop them at the gate and, unfortunately, send them home.” 

Principal Mark Mead believes that the testing environment will be “the safest it can possibly be.” 

“I can assure students and parents that we took staff and student safety into great consideration when planning this exam,” Mead said. 

In order to avoid crowding in the hallways, students must go directly to their assigned classrooms to be checked in. Once students reach their classroom, their proctor will assign them to one of the five seats. 

“There will be a desk in each of the room’s four corners and one desk will be dab in the center, so that way students are not anywhere near each other,” Seemann said. 

In each classroom, the window and doors will be left open to “ensure” cross-breeze ventilation. Further, students will also have to bring their own materials to avoid contact with others in the testing environment. 

“In previous years, we used to give students snacks and fun stuff like that. Unfortunately, we’re not able to provide that, so we’re asking students to be prepared,” Seemann said. 

Junior Lea Ankri does have “some safety concerns” about taking the PSAT in-person, but she “trusts” administration to provide safety precautions. 

“I decided to take the PSAT because I did not do super great the first time I took it last year, so this time I’m hoping to improve my score,” Ankri said. “I am a little worried about being back in school, but as long as we are safe, I hope everything will go well.” 

Although 55 juniors opted into taking the exam, Seemann believes that students who chose not to take the PSAT will not be penalized by colleges. 

“I think it’s important that students are mindful of the fact that colleges are experiencing the same pandemic that we are and that they are not going to require anything out of a student that they feel is going to put them in a safety or security issue,” Seemann said. “My advice to students is to stay focused academically and make sure that you do the best that you can.” 

The date for the school-administered spring SAT and ACT is still unconfirmed. Stay tuned for updates as more information becomes available.  

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