Pandemic brings changes to exam week

While final exams typically include four grade levels of students frantically rushing through the hallways of West Henderson, this year’s – much like everything else – are very different. Instead of every exam taking place in the school at 8:00, most classes are having teacher-made exams that can be completed online, and in some cases, over the span of several days. For some students, back-to-back exams are occurring this week and last, leading many to have a busy, confusing, or hectic schedule. 

“We hope the exam schedule we have now looks a lot different from the one we will have in May of 2021 this school year,” Principal Luke Manuel said. “Our goal is to have everyone back face to face safely. I am hopeful that we can get back to normal, especially with the vaccination coming out.”

Some students and teachers have expressed gratitude for virtual instruction and exams due to health concerns, but others feel that it has been a confusing week for them, especially with the inclusion of a “snow” day and a two-hour delay due to weather.

“I thought exams went well, even if they were slightly hectic and confusing. The only thing I didn’t understand is why we had to check-in to classes if we already took the exam,” senior Laurel Welch said.

After the loose testing schedule at the end of last year, many students were surprised that not only were timed, proctored exams going to take place, but that they were going to count for 20% of their final grade for the class.

“There have been many challenges to organizing this year’s testing schedule and balancing the needs of our A-day, B-day, and virtual students,” Manuel said. “Essentially, we had to create three testing schedules to be sure we met the needs of our students during the mandated testing window. However, I am really appreciative of the way our students and staff have handled our testing schedule and have persevered to make it happen.”

While this year looks much different from any other, West Henderson’s faculty and staff are devoting their time to making sure everyone at the school has a safe learning environment, while working towards the goal of having every student back in the school safely.

“As a school, we have been working hard all semester long to be sure to follow the guidelines that the CDC and the Henderson County Health Department have set for us. By following these practices, along with the consistent work of our staff, students and school nurse, we feel confident that we would definitely be able to handle a situation should a student come down with COVID-19 at school,” Manuel said. “Locating where the person has been, safely spacing in classrooms, wearing facial coverings, contact tracing, communication, and effective cleaning practices, both in and outside the classrooms, have been a few of the practices we have and will continue to follow.”

By: Allison Caskey, Feature Editor


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