Midterms for 2021-2022 school year are canceled


Srinithi Raj

Old midterm and quarter two schedules have been changed

Srinithi Raj, Co-Editor-in-Chief

With the advent of midterms, Westford Academy administration has decided to cancel this semester exam in light of heightened COVID cases for the 2021-2022 school year.

At the end of the school day on Jan. 6, Dean Bob Ware and Principal Jim Antonelli sent students and parents separate emails regarding the cancelation. In addition, administration clarified that even though midterms are cancelled, teachers are still allowed to administer cumulative assessments during the midterm week, but these scores will not account for 6% of a student’s final grade like a formal midterm. As of now, finals will not be weighted more heavily because of the lack of midterms; semester one grades will be finalized using only first and second quarter grades, and the 6% of student grades that midterms traditionally contribute to will now be redistributed to first and second quarter grades. 

With an influx in COVID cases following the recent holiday break, administration made these midterm decisions in response to apprehension regarding the new cases. In Antonelli’s most recent COVID notification email, 25 individuals were tested positive for COVID-19 today, Jan 6.

“Prior to the vacation, we had an increase in the number of student absences. Following the vacation, the absenteeism continues to climb for students and the faculty. This has created a lot of anxiety,” Antonelli said.

With this rise in absences, students have also felt concern for the school work they have missed while on their respective leaves. Hearing such concerns, administration sought to balance students’ academics and health by creating a new end-of-quarter-two schedule that includes catch-up days for students to meet with teachers and make-up tests. To provide support for students and staff, administration hopes that the new schedule will be more flexible and also ensure learning and extra-help opportunities for students. With more information to follow, administration advises to be on the lookout for updates regarding midterms and any supplemental testing that teachers may choose to implement.

“The immediate reaction from our students [to the midterms cancellation] was relief,” Ware said. 

Echoing administration efforts, many students also feel that a lack of midterms would positively impact their social and emotional well-being. Especially with missed schoolwork that absent students need to catch-up on, some believe that the lack of midterms would give these students a chance to get back on track.

“For the students who were gone due to COVID-19, I think it’s only fair to give them extra time to make up any tests or class work they may have missed. So, I appreciate those makeup blocks during what would have been midterm week. I think as a whole, it takes a lot of stress off of everyone’s back,” senior Ryan Alonardo said. 

For some students experiencing cold-like symptoms, individuals wanted to refraining from getting tested for COVID-19 so they didn’t have to make up additional school days to wait for results. Among these students, the cancellation of midterms also helps them devote more time to their health without the fear of falling behind in school.  

“Students were scared of missing school and more importantly midterms, so they were avoiding getting tested for COVID-19. Without midterms, kids won’t fear missing tests or finding time to reschedule their appointments. With a rise in COVID-19 cases, kids will feel more inclined to test” freshman Sanvi Luthra said. 

Yet, while administration sees the benefits of having canceled exams, they continue to discuss ways to prepare students for college-level exams where midterm formats are the norm. Although midterms have been canceled for 2021-2022, administration is working toward normalcy in exam routines for students in upcoming years. 

“College preparation is a concern.  However, we are more concerned about the current social and emotional well being of our students, and the stress level is very high for students and staff. Eventually, we will get back to mid-year exams, and finals,” Antonelli said.