Last year, on March 13, students were sent home for two weeks to reduce the spread of an unknown virus. Those two weeks turned into a month, and while everyone still held on to hope of going back to school, it did not happen. After months they have found various vaccines for the different strains. With the hope of the vaccine working, the school board has proposed a hybrid learning model to get students back in the building as early as March 1. And now, for the first time in months, they are waiting for the okay from Superintendent Dr. Martirano to bring juniors back into the building to take the PSAT.
Last year a few schools held the SAT, but a lot of them canceled to avoid the risk of spreading the virus. Mt. Hebron principal Dr. Joelle Miller assures students and parents that they can safely administer the PSAT, saying, “There will be 8 kids per class with one teacher and students will be 6ft apart in the cafeteria to check-in.”
With Maryland cases still very high some parents or students may not feel comfortable going in to take the test. Dr. Miller said that if students do not want to take the PSAT they can submit their SAT scores for national merit instead.
Junior Sasha Carrico took the SAT last fall.
“There were a lot more classes than usual and 6 to 7 people in the room with me. I felt safe, and everyone was very careful,” said Carrico.
While students are encouraged to bring their own supplies such as pencils and extra scratch paper, Assistant Principal Mrs. Cherilyn Brown said, “The materials have not been used since November and we were told by the Howard County health office and CDC to leave them out sanitized for 4 days prior.”
Since Carrico already took the SAT, she has decided not to take the PSAT.
“If I had not taken the SAT before I would have taken the PSAT because it is actually good practice for the real thing, but I might submit my SAT scores for national merit,” she said.
To actually hold the PSAT, the Howard County Board of Education said that the positivity rate has to be below or at 5.13% and the case rate for 100,000 people must be under 20 for two straight weeks.
Despite this abnormal year, the administration continues to plan for students to be given opportunities to take these exams. Whether students opt-in or out, a return to hybrid learning may mean the return of in-person standardized tests for Mt. Hebron students.