State Watch

17-year-old diagnosed with COVID-19 after school required her to take SAT in person

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A Michigan high school student contracted COVID-19 after her family says administrators at the school denied the girl’s request to be excused from taking the SAT for fear of coronavirus exposure. 

According to the Detroit Free Press, the family of a 17-year-old senior at Bloomfield Hills High School had been told by school officials that taking the SAT was a state requirement for graduation. 

However, the Free Press noted that state education officials say that Michigan has no such requirement for the SAT or any other standardized test. 

The girl, who had requested not to take the test because her mother is in a high-risk category for severe coronavirus complications, took the test while wearing two masks. 

Soon after the test, the girl was then diagnosed with COVID-19 and said she spent close to two months recovering in her bedroom while isolating herself from her mother. 

The girl’s mother, who along with her daughter requested to remain anonymous for fear of responses from classmates and school officials, told the Free Press in November that her daughter was “doing much better now.” 

The family’s primary health practitioner, Lydia Rising, told the Free Press that the girl had tested positive in early October “well within the incubation period of COVID-19.” 

Rising added that two of the girl’s friends who took the SAT that same day “had extremely similar symptoms, all within 12 hours of each other, and this certainly indicates a common source.” 

Several universities have waived testing requirements for applicants through 2021 and some through 2022, with others deciding to permanently remove the requirement on college applications. 

Rising told the Free Press that the girl has already been accepted to four Michigan universities without submitting test scores: Michigan State, Eastern Michigan, Wayne State and Oakland. 

“She still doesn’t have her scores. If that doesn’t tell you that taking this test was unnecessary, nothing does,” Rising told the Free Press in November.

The College Board, which administers the SAT exam, along with the ACT, announced in March that they would be rescheduling or canceling upcoming testing dates as the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States. 

In response, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos agreed to waive the federal requirement for spring SAT data, although DeVos in early September notified school superintendents across the country that the waiver would not be continued through the 2020-21 school year, according to the Free Press. 

While the ACT and College Board announced in April that they would be developing take-home versions of the exams, the College Board said in June that it would be postponing these plans, citing technological challenges of developing an online test that all students could take.

Tags ACT test Betsy DeVos College Board coronavirus cases coronavirus covid-19 Detroit Free Press Michigan SAT test standardized testing

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