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COVID-19: Govt issues guidelines for conducting examinations

On Wednesday, the Union Health Ministry issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) on preventive measures to be followed while conducting examinations in order to contain spread of COVID-19 pandemic. As per the latest guidelines, only those examination centres which are outside the containment zone shall be allowed to function.

Also, staff or students from containment zones shall not be permitted at the centres. “Such students shall be either given an opportunity to undertake the exam through other means or the Universities/Educational Institution shall arrange for taking exam at a later date for such students,” the ministry said.

Students will have to fill out the self-declaration form. As per the guidelines, if any examination functionary or student fails to meet the self-declaration criteria, they shall be denied the entry.

Only asymptomatic staff and students shall be allowed inside the examination hall as per the guidelines and face cover/mask has to be worn at all times inside the examination centre by all.Institutions may adopt contact less processes like OR code, online forms, digital signatures for the examination. Seating arrangement in the examination hall will be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained, the guidelines said.

The educational institutions, examination conducting authorities and the centres may plan out the examination schedule in a staggered manner to avoid overcrowding, the government said. Besides, it also advised all the centres to ensure masks, hand sanitisers and hygiene inside the premises. The exam centres have also been advised to have a designated isolation room for any person who is found symptomatic at the time of screening or during examination, till the time medical advice may be sought.

If a student is found to be symptomatic and insists on giving the examination, he may be allowed to take it from a separate isolation room. The permission in such cases shall be granted by the Examination Conducting Authorities. A clear policy on allowing symptomatic candidates to undertake examinations shall be delineated by the Examination Conducting Authorities in advance.

Bags, books and mobiles will not be allowed in the examination centres as per the SOP, and the students will be taken to a registration room in batches maintaining adequate physical distancing norms for document verification and marking attendance. Thereafter they will be escorted in batches to the allotted examination hall. If needed, frisking of student shall be undertaken after thermal screening.

Personnel involved in frisking shall wear triple layer medical mask in addition to gloves. Proper hand hygiene shall be maintained by such personnel every time they change their gloves. On completion of exam, the candidates should be permitted to move out in an orderly manner, the guidelines say.

For pen and paper-based tests, the guidelines state that the invigilator will sanitize his hands prior to distribution of question papers and answer sheets. The students will also sanitize their hands before receiving such papers and handing them back to the invigilators. The collection and packing of the answer sheets, at every stage will also involve sanitization of the hands.

The answer sheets will preferably be opened up after 72 hours have elapsed post collection of papers, the guidelines state adding that using spit or saliva for counting or distributing sheets shall not be allowed. The government said that a record of all exam functionaries and students shall be maintained in the system for future reference and traceability. Installation and use of Aarogya Setu App will be encouraged, the government said.

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