SAT Testing Proceeds as Usual at Whitney Young High School

Faizi Tofighi

You wake up at 8:30 am. You slowly get up out of bed, brush your teeth, grab some breakfast, and head to your computer. At 9:05 am, you’re attending your first-period class. This is what the start of a normal school day looks like for students across the country. Just 9 months ago, nobody could have predicted this lifestyle. With the international spread of the COVID-19 virus, many aspects of our society, including our schools, workplaces, and social norms, have changed drastically. So why, almost completely unexpectedly, has our in-school SAT testing remained almost exactly the same?

The senior class of Whitney M. Young Magnet High School consists of about 500 students. All 500 of these students were required to attend an SAT testing session at the school on Wednesday, September 23rd, with all 500 students having to enter the building within a 90 minute period. Commercial buildings in Chicago are allowed to have only 50 people in a room at one time, and although each testing room had less than 50 students at a time, almost the entire class of students walked through the same hallways in snack and bathroom breaks. Clearly, this setting is dangerous when considering the social distancing needed to inhibit the spread of COVID-19. Many students had things to say on the subject. Senior Andrew Elysee ‘21 commented, “I think that it is not very safe and a huge risk, especially since almost all schools, are going test-optional this year.” Junior Grace Chen ‘22 added, “I think that that quantity of students in the same building is pretty concerning in terms of safety, but if faculty take the necessary precautions and preparations to ensure social distancing and sanitization, it’ll be fine. Probably.” Freshman Stephen Luo ‘24 said, “I don’t think it will be a problem if everybody wears masks and stays apart from each other.” This may be easier said than done. Only time will tell if everyone takes precautions by keeping socially distant and wearing masks.