Virus concerns change geography bee rules to dismay of eager Boardman contender

Local News

Now, due to health risks surrounding the coronavirus, all competitors will instead be given an online test

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – The National Geographic State GeoBee is caught in the middle of the COVID-19 situation.

The Ohio competition is held every year in Columbus, but the rules have been changed this year due to the health risk.

Eighth-grader Brock Farris is the geography champion of Boardman schools for the second straight year, qualifying for the state competition again.

“He’s one of the best we’ve had. He’s obviously our school champion, so that says a lot right there, but having been down there last year, he knows what to expect,” said Vince Carnevale, a teacher from Boardman schools.

Farris came close to the final round last year and felt more prepared for this year’s bee. It’s more than just knowing the state capitals; it includes cultures, economies and population pyramids.

Farris has been coming to school at 7:30 a.m. for extra time to prepare with Mr. Carnevale.

Now, due to health risks surrounding the coronavirus, all competitors will instead be given an online test.

“It would only be true if they don’t cheat. Someone can cheat, but it would just be taking away their pride,” Farris said.

“It’s not that something can, I don’t know if it will, but it just seems like it’s set up a way that there could be someone to take advantage of it if they wanted to,” Carnevale said.

This is the last opportunity for Brock Farris to participate in the GeoBee. As one of the top 100 in Ohio, he felt confident he could qualify for the national event.

“I was disappointed because I was looking forward to this year because I thought I had a really good shot at winning,” Farris said.

The online test will be given in two weeks.

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