LIBERAL, Kan. — The sense of excitement was more like the first day of school than the usual pre-exam anxiety as students lined up on the sidewalk of the Hobble Academic Building at Seward County Community College. Saturday, June 13, was the first time a group of students had gathered on campus for three months. The students themselves had been separated from their peers after area high schools and the college shut down buildings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the ACT exam is a standard part of preparing for college, and SCCC typically hosts several sessions for high schoolers. College registrar Alaina Rice coordinates the highly-regulated exam multiple times each year. She was in favor of hosting the early June ACT session.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty in general right now, but taking the ACT helps ensure students’ future hopes and dreams, and that’s encouraging,” said Rice.
Students waited at appropriate social-distancing intervals for a quick screening before entering the building.
Vice President of Student Services Celeste Donovan greeted them with a smile behind her mask.
“It was exciting to see these students after so many months of a completely quiet campus,” she said. “The executive team has been meeting to plan out our reopening plan, and seeing these ACT students makes me realize it’s really going to happen.”
To comply with the ACT’s requirements and guidelines, the college’s maintenance staff sanitized the Hobble Building and provided hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes on test day. Students maintained social distancing throughout the three-hour test, with empty desks interspersed between individual test-takers.
The ACT was, as Donovan mentioned, a “baby step” toward a full campus reopening slated for the first week of July.
“We’re thinking through all the aspects of safety and health for our students and team members,” Donovan said. “Between the recommendations the executive team is establishing and the respect our team members show for one another, I think we can do this successfully.”
If the ACT test takers provided any indication, Donovan’s optimism is on the mark.
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