Senator Warren and Representative Ro Khanna Question the Association of American Medical Colleges Regarding Efforts to Keep Students Safe as They Take Medical College Admission Tests
Despite ongoing pandemic, prospective medical students have reported unsafe testing conditions and lack of COVID-19 screening protocols at Medical College Admission Testing sites
Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Representative Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), sent a letter to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) inquiring about their efforts to keep prospective medical students safe as they take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The letter raises concerns about recent reports of unsafe testing conditions and students contracting COVID-19.
"We write seeking additional information regarding the steps being taken to protect prospective medical students as the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is administered during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic," wrote the lawmakers. "Students have reported unsafe testing conditions and a lack of screening protocols to prevent the spread of the disease in enclosed testing sites. It is imperative all possible steps are taken to protect students to provide a safe testing site, particularly as they take such an important exam in their efforts to join the ranks of frontline, health care professionals."
The MCAT, the requisite exam for prospective medical students to test their medical school readiness, is a critical factor in a student's medical school application and was administered over 270,000 times between 2017-2019. Despite the ongoing pandemic, the MCAT remains one of the few admissions tests administered n in-person, and tens of thousands of prospective medical students are still seeking to take the exam.
Reports of unsafe testing conditions and lack of COVID-19 screening protocols at testing sites have begun to surface. In a recent survey conducted by Students for Ethical Admissions, 64 percent of respondents reported their testing sites had no COVID-19 screening protocols in place. Students have also said that some testing sites had "no social distancing measures at all," that mask requirements were not consistently followed or enforced, and that testing sites and computers are not adequately cleaned, despite AAMC and Pearson VUE requirements. Alarmingly, students have also reported contracting COVID-19 and passing it to relatives after taking the exam in unsafe testing conditions.
To better understand AAMC's work of administering such a high-stakes test during a global pandemic, and to ensure that all steps are taken to protect the health and wellbeing of all students taking the MCAT, Senator Warren and Representative Khanna (D-Calif.), requested answers no later than September 15, 2020.
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