Texas Students Forced to Take the STAAR Test in Person This Year

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, TEA announces that Texas students are required to take the STAAR test in person this year


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Arianna Carroll, Reporter

The STAAR test is an exam that helps determine whether or not students pass either a certain class or their entire grade level. As of December 10th, 2020, taking the STAAR test in person this year is mandatory for all high school Texas students currently enrolled in English I, English II, Biology, Algebra, and US History. The students who choose not to attend risk the chance of failing that class or being held back. And while the school has implemented COVID-19 precautions, it’s still very much possible to catch the virus.

Texas students should not be obligated to take the STAAR test in person.

Students are given exactly four hours to take the STAAR test.  Due to the lengthy time period, administrators supply the students with snacks to eat and water to drink. However, experts at Yale University Public Health state that even just shifting your mask to take bites or slipping a straw underneath it is proven to be counter-effective toward the mask’s initial purpose- to limit the spread of COVID-19.  If the virus has latched onto your mask and you touch it, you could then spread the virus to everything you touch.

Although TEA claims that all students will be forced to wear masks during the test, they aren’t 100% effective.  Physics of Fluids states that while wearing masks helps limit the spread of the virus, it is still possible to be infected even after taking these precautions. For example, an increased number of successive coughs greatly increases the chances of the virus spreading, despite the individual wearing a mask.  So while wearing a mask helps reduce the risk of spreading the virus, it doesn’t make getting infected impossible.

Similar to wearing masks, while social distancing has been proven to be effective, it doesn’t entirely eliminate the chance of catching COVID-19.  NJ.com states that social distancing simply flattens the curve of the spread of the virus. This shows that it hasn’t been proven to be 100% effective, and the virus can still be transmitted despite the lack of physical contact.

Some people argue that schools have so far taken the necessary steps to limit the spread of the virus, and will continue to do so during testing. While this is true, according to the daily notifications from Nurse Browning, there have already been 139 cases of COVID-19 at Horn this year. This proves that while their methods help reduce the spread of the virus, it doesn’t eliminate the chance of contracting it.

Students who attend school in Texas should not be forced to take the test in person because avoiding COVID-19 as much as possible should be their personal decision. Taking that choice away from them goes against their rights.  Therefore, they should have the choice on whether or not they choose to take the exam in person.

Texas students should not be obligated to take the STAAR test in person due to the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19.  Officials should allow the students to be able to choose whether they take the test online or not.