Opinion: Students overlooking impact of closures


U.S. Air Force Graphic by Rosario "Charo" Gutierrez

While some students may welcome a break from the daily grind of coming to school, many are overlooking the impact COVID-19 will have on high-stakes testing, especially AP exams.

As COVID-19 floods the United States with uncertainty, Fayette County is not immune. After one presumptive case was diagnosed at Piedmont-Fayette hospital, Fayette County Board of Education and administrators have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of their students. While many students jump at the opportunity of an extended or early spring break, some will deal with unintended consequences.

The Coronavirus began gaining international attention on Jan. 7 when the World Health Organization identified a new virus in Wuhan, China, according to Al Jazeera. By Jan. 22, 550 Chinese people were infected and 17 dead. In the coming days and months, Coronavirus continued to expand to more people and more countries. The New York Times reported yesterday that at least 1,422 people in the United States have been infected and at least 38 have died from the virus. 

Many students are conscious of the virus, with Corona being the topic of many conversations. This morning, FCBOE decided to shut down the schools for at least a week. Some students advocate heavily for this decision, citing the likelihood of contracting the virus while enclosed in a building of more than a 1,000 people. Some students would benefit from this break, as it does reduce the rate of infection, yet a large portion of Starr’s Mill Students would be hurt.

Virtual learning can teach content, but it cannot teach the intricacies required to succeed in AP writing.”

— Guest Writer Jacob Maples

With only 53 days left until the first AP exam, teachers are working hard to ensure their students are on track to succeed. Starr’s Mill earns awards every year based on the success of their students.Students exceed expectations every year, but this year could be different. No amount of virtual learning will prepare students for their exams. Virtual learning can teach content, but it cannot teach the intricacies required to succeed in AP writing.

Rumors circulate the idea that school could be extended into June to make up for the missed days, which allows for students participating in other standardized tests such as the Georgia Milestones to not be affected. At the current moment, AP exams have not been canceled or rescheduled, meaning students will continue to work hard, albeit at a slight disadvantage depending on how long schools remain closed.

Student health and safety is the number one priority of the school system, and rightfully so. Students should realize that while it may be nice to get a break, it could come at the expense of exam grades and overall learning. While students wait to find out what the College Board decides, some things will stay apparent — AP exams will get closer and closer, schools across the county will continue to shut down, and the virus will continue to spread across the world.