Back in the building

Not even a global pandemic could prevent the College board’s PSAT from taking place. 

The sound of sneakers hitting the freshly cleaned tile floor echoed through the halls on Tuesday Jan. 25 as 86 students walked through the doors and into the school building for the first time in almost a year to take the PSAT. Approximately 60 faculty members were on hand to facilitate the socially distanced test event.

“It felt weird walking down hallways that weren’t crowded with people,” sophomore Joshua Daniels said. 

Many safety measures were implemented during and before testing to ensure the safety of the students and faculty including socially distanced desks and an enforced mask mandate. 

“The custodial services thoroughly cleaned all areas including using electrostatic spray,” Associate Principal Dr. Melissa Perez Rhym said in an email. “I think the plan went very smoothly and I can’t think of any areas where I would change what we did.”

KEEPING DISTANCE: Sophomores Kaj Miller (left) and Nina Plaksin (right) wait in the socially distanced line to be assigned their testing classroom. “Everything was more organized than I expected it to be,” sophomore Joshua Daniels said. Photo by Ikeoluwa Ojo.

When students arrived in the morning they were directed to one of the five registration tables set up in the main common area. After a short wait in line they were told which classroom they would be testing in. 

“I was happy that everything was so organized, it definitely made me feel safer about being in the building,” sophomore Daisy Madera Morales said.  

Prepackaged meal bags were offered to students as they walked into classrooms to minimize contact, and all water fountains were cut off. 

In each of the classrooms there were no more than ten students and one teacher to proctor the exam. The test itself was split into four sections with a short break between each. Break times during testing were staggered to limit the amount of students in the hallway and in restrooms. 

“Given the circumstances I think everyone did the best that they could,” science department chair Mr. Matthew Baker said. 

Hadiza Sarr took her PSAT in a classroom with five other juniors. 

“It was way easier to focus compared to when I took it last year,” Sarr said. “Social distancing allowed there to be less people to deal with.”

Despite transportation to and from the school being provided many students chose to be dropped off and picked up. 

“I was fine with going in the building, I just didn’t like the idea of a bus full of people,” Sarr said. 

The majority of students made the decision to skip the PSAT all together. 

“I figured, even if there are protocols in place there’s still always a risk of getting sick,” junior Kori Edmonds said. 

Ikeoluwa Ojo

Ikeoluwa Ojo is a sophomore writer for the BluePrints Magazine. Ojo would like to pursue a career in social work or child psychology. She hopes to strengthen her writing, communication, and speaking skills this year.