Wednesday, high school juniors and seniors across the state went into classrooms to take the SAT. But Boise resident Holly Paquette’s daughter was not one of them.
"You're not going to sit in a room with 10 or however many people they're putting for three hours when we have an aerosolized virus — it's just not worth the risk," said Paquette.
Idaho pays for students to take the SAT and requires that they take it, or another college admissions test to graduate. The state lifted the graduation requirement in April when Idaho reported a total of 673 confirmed coronavirus infections.
Reported case numbers now reach the mid-500s daily. Even though many colleges have waived the tests as an admissions requirement for 2021, Pauqette said it’s still a graduation requirement for her daughter.
“There is an opportunity in the spring I suppose, but there's no guarantees that the virus is going to be under control better in Idaho by then either," said Paquette.
State Board of Education President Debbie Critchfield said COVID-19 precautions while taking the test will look different around the state. She said many school districts are having some students stay home to cut transmission risks.
“I'm less concerned about potential spikes in transmission related to the SAT than I would be on a normal school day," said Critchfield.
Critchfield said she hasn’t heard many parents opposing the requirement. Instead, she said families were concerned they wouldn’t have access to the test, as some scholarships are based on scores.
Still, next week, Paquette plans on testifying against the requirement over Zoom. State Board of Education members will make their decision in December.
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