As if standardized tests weren’t stressful enough, imagine taking the ACT not only anxious over getting a great score but fretting over whether the closest test-taker — who isn’t wearing a mask — is going to infect you with COVID-19. While many of America’s universities have gone test-optional for the 2020-2021 college admissions cycle, students are still taking the ACT and SAT. And they’re smart to do so — because even though most schools, including all of the Ivy League schools, have gone test-optional, you bet great test scores can still be a difference-maker in elite college admissions this cycle. But these nervous test-takers who go into test sites with sharpened pencils in hand shouldn’t also have to worry about attending a super-spreader event.
ACT Test-Takers and Proctor Allegedly Weren’t Wearing Masks
As Taylor Borden reports for Business Insider in a piece entitled “Standardized testing for college admissions just came back — and it already looks like a coronavirus super-spreader,” “In the days leading up to the [ACT], [ACT tutor Emily Brookhyser] went through the ACT’s safety guidelines with her clients, including considerations like packing a mask and hand sanitizer. Those guidelines, rooted in CDC recommendations, delineated what test centers should do amid the pandemic, such as disinfecting facilities and asking examinees about their health symptoms. Brookhyser said one of her clients went to take the exam on Saturday and was the only one wearing a mask in his test room, including the proctor. ‘He was so upset’ about the potential health risks ‘that he found it very difficult to concentrate on the test.'” And understandably so!
Testing Organizations Can and Must Do More for Safety of Test-Takers
And apparently this student wasn’t alone in taking an admissions exam under unsafe conditions as a 14-page open letter to AAMC, AACOM, TMDSAS, and medical schools about exam safety makes clear. According to reports, six students have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 after sitting and taking the MCAT, which is of course six too many if you ask us. Under no circumstances should any test-taker or test proctor not be wearing a mask — no matter the local rules in place. ACT, AAMC and other organizations such as these must do more to enforce safe testing conditions in the weeks to come.
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