On Jan. 26th, the Class of 2022 was invited on campus to take the Preliminary SAT (PSAT). During distance learning, administrators have worked tirelessly to adjust Loyola events for the safety of the staff and students. The day of the PSAT exemplified their hard work, leaving optimism for a return to campus.
Getting all juniors on campus safely is essential. Per COVID guidelines, all juniors were required to wear masks, social distance, and have their temperatures checked upon entrance. The administrators, Counseling Office Coordinator Carol Hampson, and Counselor Michael Denison decided that the best way to maintain safety while taking the test was to arrange desks outdoors. All of the desks were set in Malloy Commons six feet apart.
Hampson said, “I think this event was challenging because of the logistics of hosting an in-person test with the high number of covid cases in early January. Details of getting everyone on campus safely were the priority. Of course, right before the test, the forecast predicted heavy rain all week, with temperatures for mornings at 46 degrees! Fortunately, we got lucky, and the only day it did not rain was that Tuesday. It was still chilly, but the fact that it didn’t rain made administration much easier, for sure!”
The administrators were pleased to see the 221 juniors on campus at once. The juniors, too, were thrilled to be back on campus with their classmates. Having their peers’ company gave students the feeling of the Loyola community again despite distance learning.
Junior John Ohannessian said, “It was good to be back on campus and be back with a lot of people who I have not seen in nearly a year. It felt like things are going starting to get better and closer to being back to normal.”
Hampson and Denison received great feedback from the juniors. Going on campus is exciting for students, even if it is for a test with only small breaks for catching up.
Denison said, “Feedback was that students were appreciative to be on campus even though it was cold, in a testing environment and everyone had to follow protocol which requires 6 feet of social distancing. During the breaks, students seemed excited just to say hi (from a distance) to classmates they hadn’t seen in person since March. And, I do think that the precautions communicated and laid out in advance made everyone feel safe.”
Even during the pandemic, Loyola has provided students with opportunities to grow. This on-campus testing day provided much hope for students on a return to campus.
Junior Aidan Plumb said, “I do think that it provides optimism for students in the future for success because it is leading in the right direction for when we can go back to school and start learning with each other again.”
Loyola is hosting an ACT on Mar. 2 and an SAT on Mar. 24, both on campus. Successfully organizing the PSAT ensured that Loyola could have many students on campus while maintaining health safety and a positive testing environment.
Hampson said, “Now that the number of covid cases has dropped, we feel much more comfortable administering the upcoming ACT and SAT on campus indoors—of course, with all safety protocols in place)—and we will not have to worry so much about the weather!”