The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

The Student News Site of Punahou School

Ka Punahou

Op-Ed: Punahou Cancelling SAT The Right Call


Your heart begins to beat faster and faster as the hours dwindle and time draws near. Your hands become clammy and sweaty and your stress begins to intensify. Anxiety begins to set in as you cross the threshold of judgement. Will your hours of endless studying and accumulated stress pay off?

Test taking is often a challenging time for many students, and it has become increasingly more difficult with the effects of COVID-19. Standardized tests, specifically the SAT, are an important aspect in a student’s application to college. Each year, students from around the nation take part in monthly standardized tests that evaluate their writing and mathematical capabilities.

This year, Punahou students are facing an especially trying time with the recent cancellation of the September and October SAT tests.

On September 8, Punahou released a statement from President Latham stating that the school “will need to remain in the Red alert level and continue distance learning until at least October 5.” In conjunction with this, they decided to cancel the September 26 and October 3 SAT test administrations at Punahou.

The same day, the governor placed the state under a two week stay-at-home order which has since been extended to four weeks. They also instituted surge testing, allowing for more people to be tested on the daily.

Since the start of the stay-at-home order, Hawaii has begun seeing a decrease in cases and reports. Although the status of COVID-19 in Hawaii is on a downtrend, I think that the school’s verdict to cancel the test was the right choice.

It’s clear that Hawaii’s response to the pandemic was not the best. From the start of the pandemic in March, Hawaii was able to suppress the virus, however as restrictions became more lenient, we began seeing a resurgence of cases in late July and early August. Cases began hitting triple digits and the positivity percentages were rising everyday.

Punahou certainly noted this problem in making their decision. Choosing to not administer the tests for September and October demonstrates the care and caution that the school has for its students. It is evident that safety is of the utmost importance and I commend their commitment to it. We are living in a unique time and it is acts like these that, although difficult to make, are necessary for us to overcome this challenge.

Despite its many positives, the decision of the school has affected many students in a less than ideal way. Josh Miura ‘21 commented on the situation saying, “The school cancelling the September SAT is bad because my resume is lacking extracurricular wise and I don’t have much community service so the SAT was going to benefit me a lot to make up in these lacking areas.”

Following the cancellation, the school sent out another memo to Punahou seniors. The message from senior class deans, Brendan Maloney and Lisa Stewart, along with Academy principal, Emily McCarren, read “We would like to offer Punahou seniors the opportunity to take the SAT on Saturday, November 7, 2020 on campus.”

The school has seemingly put much thought and effort into this cancellation and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. They have worked to the best of their ability to ensure that students are able to take the test and that their studying will not go to waste.

Another student, Holden Linville ‘21, said “As someone whose test scores would probably help my college admission chances, I’m disappointed. However, I can’t fault the school for cancelling the SAT and protecting themselves from being at fault for a COVID-19 breakout.”

COVID-19 has affected us all. Over the past few months our lives have been controlled by guidelines and restrictions. The school’s concern is for the safety of the students and with COVID currently raging, it is not possible to make the SAT happen for these upcoming months.

The school is displaying an example of caution and care that we must also try to emulate. It’s a difficult time, but we must stand together and follow the rules if we want to overcome them.

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