Shorewood High School cancels final exams to prioritize mental, physical health of students, staff

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SHOREWOOD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A local high school canceled final exams to put mental and physical health of students and staff first.

Assessment week at Shorewood High School is typically full of final exams, papers, group projects and other ways to assess how much students learned throughout the semester. 

"I got countless emails from people who were experiencing lots of stress," Principal Tim Kenney said.

After hundreds of students called out sick over the past month due to the omicron surge, Kenney said their leadership team decided to use assessment week to catch up on the work students missed throughout the semester. 

"If kids haven't been back in school from before winter break up to present right now, how can we really account for all of that learning during an assessment week," Kenney told CBS 58.

Students still have an altered schedule this week, but they're using class time to work more one-on-one with teachers. Kenney said this allows teachers to assess how students are doing without the stress of a grade going down.

"Education is a huge priority, but nothing is more important than you and your family's well-being," Kenney said.

Some parents are relieved to see this weight taken off of their kids' shoulders.

"I think it's fine, because my son, who is in tenth grade, he's been having tests up until last week," Lynn Frieseke said. "He's still working on and finishing up stuff this week, and they're not just sitting in there doing nothing."

Others voiced concerns that not having exams is too soft.

Kenney recommends those who feel that way to talk to their teachers about completing extra work.

"There is some sense that some kids are getting off easy on this, and yeah, they probably are, and I'm okay with that, because we are in this pandemic, in the midst of a surge like we have never seen before," Kenney said.

Kenney said the hope is to have a fresh start for the second semester and return to a normal assessment week at the end of the school year.

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