ACT testing plans underway, despite distance learning With the school still planning on administering the ACT in February, juniors will learn information about the current plan soon

Solving practice questions for her ACT prep, junior Lizeth Ontiveros starts early preparation for testing. Since the way the ACT is administered will change, the junior class may be split into three groups, each testing on a different day. “If all goes well next month then hopefully SWCTA’s schedule will run smoothly,” Ontiveros says. “However, if cases rise again and it’s unsafe to proceed with the exam this year, then I hope juniors will be able to reschedule for our senior year or later this year.”

With the ACT quickly approaching for juniors, uncertainty surrounds when, how and if the standardized test will take place in February.

Juniors were originally scheduled to take the ACT on Feb. 23, if schools weren’t in a hybrid learning plan. But, since the ACT test itself has not been developed for a distance learning environment, taking the test in person is the only option.

“Obviously, we don’t know where we will be with COVID-19 restrictions in February, but we are planning to administer the test,” Assistant Principal Kendra Kelley said. “It is a little difficult, however, not knowing if the state of Nevada will change things because of the pandemic. However, we’re working to make sure everything is in order for juniors to take the test.”

With the test being a state and graduation requirement, the state would need to find a plan “B” if COVID-19 cases continue steadily rising. However, nothing has been discussed about waiving the requirement, meaning schools are having to plan for all possible scenarios.

“Personally, the ACTs are a big aspect to junior year and it’s an exam we’ve prepared for throughout the year,” junior Lizeth Ontiveros said. “I take the ACT seriously and plan to make the most of my score, but there are always options of retaking the exam if I’d like to improve.”

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From what the district has decided on so far, schools will follow COVID-19 guidelines to ensure that the environment is safe to go to school and take the test. Groups of students will test in larger rooms, such as the ballroom, cafeteria and gym, to ensure proper social distancing. However, administration is still in planning processes.

“Being that it’ll only be the juniors at school, I think we’ll be able to be safe and keep six feet apart,” junior Antonio de la Torre said. “I would rather be at home, but I understand why it’s important that we are present at the school for this test.”

After the school board decision on January 14 to develop plans to reopen schools starting with kindergarten through third grade, although with no definite timelines, principals were permitted to start bringing in small groups of students for urgent matters like testing at all grade levels.

“I think if there isn’t a big spike in people affected with COVID-19 and we don’t get locked down, I think we will be able to continue with the normal schedule,” Torre said. “The ACT is important to me since it determines my future and which college will accept me, so hopefully, it isn’t pushed back too far.”

If CCSD stays with distance learning or moves to hybrid learning, juniors will start the ACT testing in sessions from February 23 to February 25. They will be split into three groups, divided by last name into about 125 students per group, each to test on one day only. If school returns to in-person learning before then, the entire junior class will probably still not all complete the test on the same day, however, due to the circumstances of this school year.

“I don’t think there’s a problem with holding ACT on school property, but for some parents, it might be a problem,” Ontiveros said. “I know some parents of my friends don’t want them going out publicly with groups of people, so they might feel hesitant about the idea. I think as long as there are precautions and students will be safe, then we should have them in person as scheduled.”