Sophomores and juniors participate in optional standardized test

Lucia Kouri, City Life Editor

Some juniors and sophomores returned to campus Oct. 14 to participate in the four-hour PSAT/NMSQT exam, where despite precautions to ensure a safe testing environment for students and adults, some students reported violation of social distancing rules when students were not being moderated. 

“People have their own friends and pods that they’re not social distancing with, so the school couldn’t control mingling after and before the test,” sophomore Sara Charles Waterstraat said.

According to Joe Wachowski, director of operations, Lab’s testing protocols align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for social distancing, wearing masks and having an appropriate process to wash and disinfect hands. 

People have their own friends and pods that they’re not social distancing with, so the school couldn’t control mingling after and before the test”

— Sara Charles Waterstraat

In addition to following the CDC guidelines, Lab received guidance from the University of Chicago Medical Center prior to the testing day. 

“We also had to present an outlined plan to the university so they could review all our cleaning, in-person procedures and expected attendance for the event,” Mr. Wachowski said.

After receiving a space analysis from the university, an eight-foot distancing requirement was implemented. 

This requirement was part of what made junior James Sowerby comfortable with taking the test in Kovler Gymnasium.

“I wasn’t really nervous because I knew I was going to Kovler, and there was a lot of space to be distanced,” James said. 

According to junior Peter Stern, social distancing was generally maintained during testing.

“I think the school did a pretty good job in terms of social distancing,” Peter said. “The proctors could have tried to stay a little further away when answering questions, but everything else seemed good during the test.”

Both Peter and sophomore Charlotte Henderson, who took the PSAT 10, agreed that there were moments during breaks, however, when some students slightly broke distancing requirements.

“I think it’s hard when you haven’t seen people for so long and have such a strong urge to hug or converse with people,” Charlotte said. “But overall, I think it was well managed.”