HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Hillsborough County School district is asking the state to forego standardized test grades again this school year, as schools continue to struggle through Covid surges and an overwhelming number of absences.

“Just in the month of January in Hillsborough county we’ve had over 10,000 employees and students impacted by Covid that have been out,” said Superintendent Addison Davis.

He said this year has been their hardest pandemic school year, as countless teachers and students have missed more than 10 days of classes because of the virus. Davis is asking the Florida Department of Education to allow the district to opt-in A to F grades for a third year.

“There’s a number of barriers and we just ask for grace and compassion during this school year,” Davis said. “The accountability system allows the department of education to hold school districts accountable to giving them an A being the best all the way to an F identifying a school as underperforming.”

He said he doesn’t want possible negative scores from the challenging year to impact schools’ overall grades. Davis is also requesting the state hold off on the new graduation requirements.

“We’ve asked the department to go back to last year’s historical concordance scores with ACTs and SAT to truly help our seniors out,” Davis said.

Without this grace, Davis tells 8 On Your Side it can do some serious damage to students, teachers and administrations.

“It can negatively impact not only their compensation but their overall evaluations as well,” said Davis. “It’s really not a true reflection of our abilities and skill sets of our learners.”