SAT, ACT, and PSAT Health and Safety Protocols

Steps for safe SAT, ACT, and PSAT exams in schools

Fairfax County Public Schools is committed to the health and safety of all staff, students, and parents/guardians. All testing procedures and safety protocols will be followed to ensure testing and cleaning practices meet current health department and division guidance.

For all School Day administrations (SAT and PSAT), FCPS health and safety guidance supersede College Board health guidelines.

General Safety Procedures

Given the volume of students taking SAT, ACT, and PSAT exams at FCPS schools, specific procedures must be followed at each location to ensure the safety of both students and staff. 

  • Assessment sites display COVID-19 signs, including reminders to wear masks and social distance.
  • School facilities are cleaned and disinfected prior to student and staff arrival for exams, in accordance with Center for Disease Control guidelines. 
  • All students and staff are required to complete a health screening questionnaire before entering the assessment site.
  • Parents/guardians must remain in their cars and are not permitted to enter the school on the day of the exam. 
  • Hand sanitizer is readily available.
  • Each site has a designated isolation room in the event a student or adult has an onset of symptoms during the exam.
  • Temporal thermometers are available at each exam site for use in accordance with the FCPS Student Health and Safety Guidance.
  • Desks are placed 6 feet apart in testing rooms and face the front of the room.
  • Restrooms are cleaned continuously throughout the exam day and are adequately stocked with soap, materials for drying hands, and waste receptacles.
  • FCPS staff cooperate with contact tracing activities by the Fairfax County Health Department, as needed.

Check-in Process: Door Stations

  • Exam sites are set up for students to access the building using different entrances (approximately 4-6 entrances). Students are assigned a specific door number as indicated by the testing site. 
  • Each student must respond verbally to the Health Screening Questionnaire given by staff members at door entrances. 
    • Students who do not meet the screening requirements are not permitted to test and are asked to leave.
    • Students who meet the screening requirements proceed to the next check-in station for student verification.
  • Times for students to enter and exit through various doors are staggered to reduce the numbers of students waiting for check-in at any time. Students must maintain the socially distance requirements of 6 feet through one of these indicators such as signs, floor tape, stanchions, rope barriers, etc.
  • Parents/guardians are not be permitted in the building and should remain in their cars. Only students who are actually taking an exam may wait in the check-in line.
  • Walk-ins who are not pre-registered to test will be turned away. Schools are unable to accommodate walk-ins for exams under COVID-19 conditions. Signs are posted outside each entrance with reminders that no walk-ins are accepted.
  • Multiple staff members are assigned a door entrance to assist with monitoring of social distancing. 
  • Students are directed to their testing location at entry.

What Students Should Bring on Exam Day

Exam sites are unable to provide materials for students.

Required Materials

Students must bring the following materials with them on the day of the exam, which are required to take the assessment. 

  • Student ID
  • Test ticket - Required for SAT/ACT Weekend test administration only; not required for SAT School Day or PSAT
  • Mask -
    • Masks are required to be worn at all times.
    • Students must provide their own mask, and it will be inspected prior to testing.
    • In compliance with FCPS regulation 2109, students may remove masks temporarily to drink or eat, when they are appropriately distanced.
    • Per FCPS regulation 2109, any individual seeking exemption from the mask due to a medical condition, shall produce to school officials the written statement of his or her physician confirming that not wearing a mask is medically necessary.
  • No. 2 pencils
  • Emergency contact information 

Permitted Materials

Students are permitted to bring the following materials. 

    Gloves - Allowed for ACT tests only; Gloves are inspected prior to the start of the exam
  • Hand sanitizers and/or wipes - May be taken into the exam room but must remain underneath the desk while the exam is underway
  • Approved calculator - Schools will not provide calculators on the day of testing.
  • Food/water - May be taken into the exam room but must remain underneath the desk while the exam is underway and may be accessed only during breaks, unless a specific accommodation allows otherwise

Prohibited Materials

Students are prohibited to use the following materials in the testing room and during breaks.

  • Use of electronic devices is prohibited from the time the student is admitted to the testing room until they are dismissed at the end of the test, including break times. Specifically:
    • Students may not handle or access a cell phone or electronic device at any time in the testing room or during break times. This includes smart watches, fitness bands, and any other devices with recording, internet, or communication capabilities.
    • All devices, including cell phones and wearable devices, must be turned off and placed out of sight.

Additional Updates 

Note that FCPS health guidelines will prevail any time local requirements are stricter than those required by ACT and the College Board. 

For additional updates and information visit the College Board website COVID updates 

For additional updates and information visit the ACT website Testing Amid COVID-19

SAT Individual School Protocols

View protocols for specific SAT exam sites

ACT Individual School Protocols

View protocols for specific ACT exam sites


More information about student assessments is available.

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More information on assessment health and safety is available.

Find out more.