Due to the new test policy regarding Covid-19, students are required to take all tests in-person. If a student is quarantining, they must make up their tests the week they come back. A student may have to quarantine for two weeks, missing four tests and three quizzes, and the week they come back, they have another two tests and two quizzes to take. This leaves the student taking six tests and five quizzes all in one week! Not only are students left feeling stressed, but they are tempted to make unhealthy decisions to avoid falling behind in school. The new test policy, which only lets students take tests online if they are home for the entire quarter, is not balanced fairly enough. I believe that if a student knows that they must quarantine for a minimum of two weeks and informs the administration that they will be home, he or she will not be allowed to attend physical school but will be permitted to take all assessments from home during that period of time. This way, a student is not risking their or others’ physical health, and it is not taking a toll on their mental health.
Online tests can reduce potential sick exposure across students within Ramaz. If a student feels unwell or potentially comes in contact with someone with Covid symptoms, it is in the Ramaz’s best interest that that student stays home. Even though staying home would be the best option in both of those scenarios, only offering in-person tests makes staying home for a long period of time infeasible for many students. For example, if a student needs to quarantine for two weeks, they may come back to school with several tests and quizzes to make up, on top of what was already scheduled the week they return. This dissuades students from being honest with school officials. School policy should not punish students for being honest and preventing potential disease spread.
Many school administrators are concerned that students would cheat if left to take tests at home, but public health and mental health concerns outweigh potential fears for cheating. Having a balanced system will stop students from cheating, as students want to be in physical school as much as possible. This system will ensure that if a student is going to stay home the day of a test, he or she will have to make it up unless they have a genuine reason. Many school officials are concerned that students would cheat if left to take tests at home. Cheating is an understandable concern; however, there are ways to mitigate the potential for cheating. Exams are still going to be timed, which makes it more difficult to cheat. It is unlikely that a student would have time to finish an exam if they spend the entire time looking up answers. In our current Covid environment, it is more important that students learn the material efficiently and stay safe rather than stressing about assessments and increasing stress levels that are high enough already.
While we can still attend in-person classes, those who can take in-person tests should be able to. That said, the school should not punish students for wanting to be responsible by quarantining and staying home when they are sick. Conditions may make it inevitable that we will eventually have to go completely remote again and take exams from home. Eventually, life will return to normal, but in the meantime, it’s important to make accommodations to prioritize health, safety, and mental well-being over a test grade.