Community Update: March 26

International Baccalaureate Program Cancels May Exams

By Charlie Kannapell and Emma Volkers

As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread throughout the world, the International Baccalaureate program has issued a response regarding its wide-spread exams. Previously, the program assured candidates that exams would not be cancelled in the near future, and that appropriate measures would be made in specific countries including China and Italy, where the virus was most rampant.

On March 23 2020, a notice was released on the IBO website stating that “the May 2020 examinations as scheduled between 30 April and 22 May for diploma programme and career related program candidates will no longer be held.” The program assured candidates that “depending on what they are registered for, the student will be awarded a diploma or a course certificate which reflects their standard of work.” Scores will be estimated based on student performance in class as well as grades given on projects such as the Internal Assignment. In order to justify their decision, the program stated that “our students, their well being, and their progression in future stages of life have been at the forefront of our thinking as we respond to this extraordinary pandemic.” May 2020 diploma candidates will be “welcomed” if they wish to sit in on make-up testing in November.

B-CC Prom and Graduation to Still Occur

By Lilly Behbehani

On March 12, Montgomery County Public Schools announced the closure of school from March 16 until the 27. Following this announcement came the cancellation of spring sports and the postponement of many school-sponsored events.

As of March 24, Maryland has a reported number of 350 cases of COVID-19, an increase of 333 cases from March 13. Maryland’s governor Larry Hogan has banned gatherings of 10 or more people.

For many high school seniors, the cancellation of school and the ban of groups brings a wave of uncertainty for Prom and Graduation. Isaiah Sullivan, Vice President of the class of 2020 SGA, said “Unfortunately, we have not heard much updates regarding prom or graduation. Being in SGA, I can tell you that we are going on as planned with both, as there is no reason to stop planning them.”

The State of Virginia Closes All Schools for the Year

By Rachel Auerbach

On March 22nd, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that all schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia would remain closed for the remainder of the year due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Schools were originally closed for a 2 week period, but it was deemed necessary by the state to extend this closure through June as the number of coronavirus cases in Virginia continued to increase.

Virginia is the second state to close schools for the remainder of the academic year, following Kansas. During Monday’s press conference, Northam attempted to address many of the questions regarding the unprecedented next few months for the 1.5 million students in Virginia. "School division leaders will decide how students can learn the information they were meant to cover for the remainder of the year," Northam said. "By [Tuesday] our Department of Education will issue guidance to help school divisions think through those decisions and ensure that every student is served equitably." Options for ensuring students are able to stay on track with their learning include virtual learning, extending next school year, and embedding content from this year into the next academic year. To ensure students will graduate on time, the Northam administration is in the process of creating waivers to relieve testing requirements for students.

As for the rest of the DMV, the rest of the school year is still uncertain. D.C schools are currently closed through April 27th, and students will participate in distance learning while away from the classroom. Maryland schools are currently closed through April 24th and a decision regarding the extension of this closure has yet to be announced.

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