Juniors struggle to find COVID-19 tests in preparation for the PSAT

Department of Public Health approves standardized testing


Madeline Thiara

Criteria for COVID-19 testing at city testing sites in San Francisco.

Madeline Thiara, Senior Reporter

WEB EXCLUSIVE Juniors who plan on taking the PSAT on campus on Oct. 14 are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within two weeks of the standardized testing date, however they are struggling to find COVID-19 test appointments.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health approved the administration of the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholar Qualifying Test for juniors on Oct. 2 for a test date of Oct. 14. 

They originally banned all standardized testing at high schools, according to Head of School Rachel Simpson.

“When I heard the PSAT would be administered at school, I immediately wanted to take it because of the ambiguity of the future of standardized testing,” junior Haya Jadallah said. “I couldn’t find an appointment for a COVID-19 test until Oct. 12, and I am unsure if the results will come back before the PSAT.”

About half of the juniors are not signed up to take the PSAT because they could not find a COVID-19 test in time or they do not wish to take it, according to Simpson.

The PSAT will help students hone in on their areas of strength and where they can improve,” College Counselor Director Rebecca Munda said. “Although this practice test is not high stakes, it is fortunate that we can give students the opportunity to take this while it is unclear as to where testing is going in the college admissions process.”

Convent & Stuart Hall will offer a make-up test in January for those who cannot or do not wish to take the PSAT on Oct. 14, but the test date is not confirmed. School administrators urge students to take the PSAT on Oct. 14 as the future of testing is unclear, according to an email from Stuart Hall Head of School Tony Farrell.

“As soon as I saw that the PSAT was being offered at school, I tried to find a coronavirus test immediately as I know they are hard to find and luckily I got an appointment,” junior Anneli Dolan said. “I am really happy that standardized testing is being offered because soon enough I will need to take the official tests.”

COVID-19 testing locations are listed at the City and County of San Francisco website, however there are certain criteria one must meet in order to receive a test such as having symptoms or being in contact with someone who was infected. 

“I have found it extremely difficult to find COVID-19 testing in San Francisco which is surprising to me given that it should be as accessible as possible,” Jadallah said. “The PSAT will be a great opportunity for me to practice taking standardized tests and I just hope that I will be able to take.”