FHSD Announces Final Exams Will Be Cancelled Once Again Due to COVID-19


By Jordyn Sgroi

On Friday Dec. 19, FHSD announced that they would be canceling finals for the fall semester due to COVID-19. Previous to Friday, a portion of the academic team, the principals of the high schools, middle schools, and the teachers union discussed what they felt best benefited the students and teachers regarding finals and the unique situation they are currently in. When they met, they discussed how to move forward and what they thought the best option was. 

“Everything that we do has to be reinvented now because of COVID-19. Even something as simple as a lunch shift,” FHN principal Dr. Nathan Hostetler said. ”It’s now a lot more complex than it used to be. So every time we turn around trying to think of a new procedure to do something that we used to not have to think that hard about.”

This decision was made for multiple reasons. According to district communication, they relied on the opinions and expertise of multiple stakeholder groups to help make the decision. With current quarantine rules, many students are in and out of school, meaning that if students were to get quarantined before finals, they would miss them or be out of school for two weeks and miss the review material they need to adequately prepare for final exams. Normally, students would take finals and move onto the next semester with new classes and if students are quarantined, it would take a lot of work to determine who still needs to take what finals and what students need to be with what teachers for the second semester. This decision was also made with the social and emotional health of students and teachers in mind.

“Right now, everybody’s on edge, everybody is struggling emotionally, everybody is exhausted, and the idea of really pushing for a single test for each class that accounts for 20 percent of a total grade is a little terrifying,” Hostetler said. 

The existing policy required all classes to give a final exam that is 20 percent of a student’s semester grade. This policy had to be suspended this semester. The FHSD school board met on Thursday, Dec. 18 and voted to suspend this policy for the time being. This means that student’s grades will no longer be determined by 40 percent of first and second quarter and 20 percent of final exams. It will now be 50/50 for the first and second quarter. There are some exceptions to finals, including classes that have third parties such as MOBAP. AP classes will still give their final exams, but they will not be counted as a final grade. They will just be used as a check for understanding for those classes. 

Even without finals this semester, the final exam schedule will stay the same. Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, will be a full day and the following Wednesday and Thursday will be half days. But instead of classes being 90 minutes as they would be on a regular exam day, they will remain only 50 minutes. 

“We’re doing it because we think it’s best for students and teachers. And honestly the sanity of both students and teachers were both very much a part of that. Just walking through the building, I can feel the tension,” Hostetler said.