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In-person ACT testing still set at schools in June

‘Very strict distancing’ will be part of the process.

The number of sites won’t be as plentiful as usual.

But for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered schools, Florida teens will have the chance to take the ACT test in June — even as campuses remain closed for summer course work.

“We recognize that many students, including seniors, are in need of test scores for scholarship and admissions decisions. This requires us to provide flexible options for testing,” the ACT told the Tampa Bay Times via email. “We’re committed to working with test centers that can safely open and are prepared to follow CDC guidelines to provide a safe opportunity for students to test.”

The ACT plans to alert students beginning this week if their testing center has canceled. If families feel uncomfortable going to an open center, they may request a refund or reschedule to a future testing date.

Several schools that had planned to offer the test decided against it. But others — including Spoto and Durant in Hillsborough County, Hudson and Gulf in Pasco County, and Pinellas Park and Lakewood in Pinellas County — remain on the list of locations still available for the June 13 exam.

Gulf High principal Jeff Morgenstein said he chose to open his campus for the test in order to give students the opportunity to boost their scores to meet Bright Futures eligibility and college admission standards. The Florida Department of Education has not waived ACT and SAT score requirements for the scholarship, and many universities continue to require scores for entry even though several scheduled administrations have been canceled.

Related: Teens fret over Bright Futures rules as college deadlines loom

“We are going to be offering that, but we are going to have very strict social distancing,” Morgenstein said.

The rules there will include having no more than nine students and one proctor in a testing room, not allowing students to congregate on campus before or after the test, and monitoring of any movement in hallways including to the restrooms to ensure everyone keeps far enough away from one another.

“We have sanitized all of our classrooms,” Morgenstein said. “Those rooms will get cleaned again immediately before and immediately after” the ACT.

He did not worry that students will violate the rules. He based his views on their willingness to follow health protocols when coming to Gulf to clean out lockers, receive yearbooks and pick up caps and gowns.

“People who are not going to an extreme but are taking it seriously have reached a routine in doing it the right way,” he said.

Offering the test on a single day is different that providing daily summer school courses, though. Schools have made clear that they intend to conduct those classes online while they work out health and safety protocols that might lead to in-person education resuming in the fall.

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