Teachers union calls for cancellation of Regents exams in grades 3-8

An influential statewide teachers union is calling for the cancellation of standardized testing, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jeanette Deutermann, from NYS Allies for Public Education, says she agrees with the request from the state teachers union to cancel Regents exams and testing for students in grades 3 through 8 again this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  
In a letter to the state education commissioner dated Jan. 14,  the executive vice president of New York State United Teachers wrote, "Throughout this school year there has not been a standardized mode of instruction across the state. Schools have varying degrees of in person, hybrid, and remote instruction. Without standardized instructional modes there should not be a standardized test at the end of the year."
“Right now kids are just hanging on by a thread. Teachers are hanging on by a thread; the school districts are hanging, everyone's on a thread,” says Deutermann.
An online petition calling for the cancellations got over 3,000 signatures within 24 hours. 
The group not only wants the tests canceled, but for the decision to be announced immediately instead of waiting until right before the exams are supposed to take place.
New York Department of Education spokesperson Emily DeSantis released a statement, saying, "No decisions have been made regarding the June and August 2021 administrations of Regents Examinations or any of the other state assessment programs. That decision will be fully informed by all available and relevant public health and educational data. And as always, we will put the health and safety of students and teachers first."
Mackenzie Szlozak, a Sachem East High School senior and News 12 education ambassador, says the different learning formats so far this school year could be a challenge for students studying for Regents exams.
“There's a lot of stress and pressure that comes at the end of the year with finals and Regents here in New York… I think it'll be a pretty big relief if they're canceled,” she said.
Long Island superintendents say they already have local assessments in place to track students’ progress. 
“Leave this to the educators,” says Dr. Mary O'Meara, the superintendent of Plainview-Old Bethpage schools. “We will be able to identify the students who need additional support. We will be able to recognize the students who are excelling and also measure progress along the course of the school year.”