Recently, many of the testing centers for the August SAT have been closed and tests cancelled. With this in mind, is it even safe to be taking the SAT right now? Here are some factors to consider:
*Disclaimer: I am not a public health official and none of this information is professional medical advice.*
1. Recommendations from public health officials:
The CDC has set guidelines for the reopening of schools in various states; it recommends that schools shouldn’t reopen unless the positive case rate is under 5%. Many states like California and Florida have higher positive case rates, while other states have lower rates, so your ability to take the SAT might depend on the state you live in.
2. Testing vs School:
Taking a standardized test might be safer than going to school, as students don’t tend to talk during the SAT, unlike at school, which is filled with presentations, music, and other school activities that could transport respiratory droplets. Additionally, standardized tests have spaced seating in order to prevent cheating. Standardized test scores might be a good way for colleges to assess students’ academic performance with the lack of in-person learning.
3. Is standardized testing safe?
In the July ACT, only one testing center in Oklahoma had students that reported COVID-19 positive, out of over 1100 testing centers. The risk of taking a standardized test may be lower than expected.
4. Do you have a choice?
Many school testing centers and school districts have cancelled testing or reduced testing capacity; the College Board reported that only 54% of testing centers are open, so you may not get to choose to take the SAT. Even if you signed up for the test, check online frequently in the days and weeks before your testing date.
If you are taking the SAT during this time, be safe; take precautions to protect yourself and others. Don’t worry; testing centers will take additional precautions to protect students. We wish you the best of luck!