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Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

Harker Aquila’s guide on how upcoming events are impacted by coronavirus


Anna Vazhaeparambil

A guide to any questions one might have about upcoming school events and how they have been impacted due to COVID-19 and the school closure.

by Lucy Ge, Winged Post Asst. News Editor

This story was updated on May 11 to include updates on the senior trip, baccalaureate, graduation, locker clean-outs and Harker summer programs.

It has now been about two months since school shut down. Students and faculty alike have adjusted to online Zoom classes and the strangeness of our new reality. 

With new cases of coronavirus being reported every day, it is unlikely that life will return to normal in the near future, as the new Santa Clara County shelter-in-place order issued on April 29 extended social distancing restrictions to at least May 31. Only some outdoor recreational activities, construction projects and outdoor businesses will be allowed to resume under the new guidelines. 

In these uncertain times, many have questions about how upcoming events at Harker, such as graduation and AP exams, will proceed. Here is Harker Aquila’s guide to some of these questions.

How will AP exams work? 

In response to school shutdowns as a result of the pandemic, the College Board has made many changes to both the format and the timing of the AP exams.

AP exams will now be administered online and at home. Unlike previous years, the 2020 exams are only 45 minutes long. They will be open note and open book, but students are not allowed to confer with each other during the exams, including both online or in-person communication of any kind. On their website, the College Board announced potential consequences for students who are found to be violating exam security, ranging from cancellation of scores to prohibition from taking future AP exams and SAT tests. 

The two AP exam weeks, originally scheduled to take place from May 4 to May 15, have been moved back one week to May 11 to May 22. The College Board has also changed the makeup exam date for certain subjects. Here is the schedule for AP testing, which includes both the primary exam dates and the updated makeup exam dates.

“I think it was a good decision having [AP exams] online. I wish it was longer than a 45-minute test, because I feel like 45 minutes [aren’t] enough to accurately determine your knowledge on the topic.”

— Andrew Vodinh-Ho (10)

As per usual, students enrolled in an AP course at Harker, with the exception of seniors, are required to take the exam for that class, and it is not mandatory for students to attend online lessons on the days that they have an AP exam. 

“I think it was a good decision having [AP exams] online,” Andrew Vodinh-Ho (10) said. “I wish it was longer than a 45-minute test, because I feel like 45 minutes [aren’t] enough to accurately determine your knowledge on the topic, especially in history when the question is just one document-based question.”

With this announcement of online AP exams, there have been concerns that not everyone will have access to the technology required to take exams. The College Board announced on their website that they are working on solutions for students who lack mobile tools or connectivity. 

What will happen to the SAT and SAT Subject Tests in June?

In an email sent to students who registered for the test in June, the College Board announced the cancellation of all June SAT tests. 

If schools do not reopen in the fall, the College Board plans on providing online SAT testing. Students who have had their tests cancelled will receive priority for August, September and October exam administrations.

College Board has also added a new testing date on Sept. 26, according to an email sent out to students. This date is intended only for the SAT exam and not SAT subject tests. Early registration will open the week of May 26 and will be given to June registrants and students in the high school class of 2021 who have yet to take the SAT. 

Regardless, many universities recognize that high school juniors are facing more limited testing options. Across the U.S., dozens of colleges, including University of California schools, University of Oregon schools, Boston University, Cornell University, University of Washington and several others, have suspended the SAT and ACT testing requirement for at least the 2021 admissions cycle.

What will happen to the ACT test in June?

As of Monday, the June ACT test is still scheduled to take place, although it is unclear if this testing date will proceed.

What is happening with finals? 

Finals are still scheduled to take place from June 2 to June 4 with two hour slots for each test. If remote learning continues until then, final exams will be administered at home. 

In an email sent out to students on April 24, upper school Academic Dean Kelly Horan stated that it is unlikely for a final to take the full two hours.

“Teachers are being supported in looking at these final exams more as final assessments,” Horan said in an email interview with Harker Aquila. “Additionally, they are encouraged — as they are when designing any final — to make adjustments as needed that reflect skills and content that have been addressed in the current semester.”

Will spring athletes and those enrolled in afterschool P.E. classes still earn P.E. credit?

All physical exercise classes continued online, including personal fitness, yoga, fencing and capoeira classes. 

Student athletes enrolled in spring season sports will receive P.E. credit if they fulfilled the commitments to their sport for the first half of the season. They have also been given resources to continue strength and conditioning remotely through the online workout program Volt.

“I was really looking forward to singing at graduation, since I’m a member of Downbeat. I’ve been to a few past graduations, and that was always my favorite part of graduation, when we sang the graduation song and honored the seniors.”

— Alex Shing (12)

What is happening with prom and the senior trip?

Prom, which was originally scheduled to take place on April 25 at Winchester Mystery House, has officially been cancelled. The senior trip has also been cancelled.

How will baccalaureate work?

This year’s baccalaureate will be held virtually on May 27 at 6 p.m. via Zoom, and it will be open for all juniors, seniors and seniors’ parents to attend.

“I personally just wanted the in-person graduation, so I’m pretty happy about that,” senior Alex Shing said. “I was really looking forward to singing at graduation, since I’m a member of Downbeat. I’ve been to a few past graduations, and that was always my favorite part of graduation, when we sang the graduation song and honored the seniors.”

What will happen with graduation? 

The in-person graduation ceremony has been postponed to Dec. 19.

When will students be able to clean out their lockers?

On May 28, the upper school will host a drive-thru for seniors starting at 10 a.m. Scheduled times will be assigned to each senior, and a graduation package along with locker items will either be given directly to seniors or placed inside of their car trunks. 

Depending on how the coronavirus pandemic plays out, freshmen, sophomores and juniors may be able to come on campus to clean out their lockers in June. 

How will Harker summer programs work?

According to an email sent out to parents from Head of School Brian Yager on Friday, middle and upper school summer institute courses will be held remotely. There will either an in-person summer program for students in grades transitional kindergarten to fifth starting on July 6 or no summer program at all. 

What will happen to summer opportunities outside of Harker?

Due to public health concerns, many summer camps have either been cancelled or moved online.

California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS), a four-week residential program for students interested in STEM, has been cancelled for the upcoming summer. Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) summer programs have also been called off.

The Summer Internship Program (SIP) at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), a ten-week research internship opportunity, will now be an entirely remote program for the summer of 2020. Other programs, including University of Southern California (USC) Summer Programs, University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Academic Connections and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Summer Sessions, will also be taking place through online learning instead of the usual residential programs.

Sophomore Saanvi Arora had signed up for the Molecular Biology and Neuroscience summer for-credit courses at UCLA, which will now be happening online.

“I’m saddened by the fact that they got moved online,” Saanvi said. “I feel like I thrive better when instruction is in-person. But it’s precautionary. Some sacrifices have to be made to prevent worse things from happening.”

Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Andrew Vodinh-Ho’s (10) last name. The article has been updated to reflect this error.

About the Contributors
Photo of Lucy Ge
Lucy Ge, Aquila Co-Managing Editor

Lucy Ge (12) is the co-managing editor of Harker Aquila with a focus on equity and outreach, and this is her fourth year on staff. Through journalism,...

Anna Vazhaeparambil, Editor-in-Chief

Anna Vazhaeparambil (12) is the co-editor-in-chief of Harker Aquila. This is her fourth year on staff, and she hopes to grow as a reporter and photographer....

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