Centre Issues SOPs For Exams Amid COVID-19: What’s Allowed?

Here’s what you need to know about giving exams amid COVID-19.

3 min read
Students wait in queue, maintain social distancing outside exam centers. Image used for representation.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday, 10 September, released Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on preventive measures to be followed while conducting examinations to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Here’s what you need to know about giving exams amid COVID-19.

Who will be allowed entry into the exam hall?

  • Only asymptomatic staff and students will be allowed entry
  • Entrances to have mandatory hand hygiene and thermal screening provisions
  • If any examination functionary/examinee fails to meet the self-declaration criteria, they shall not be allowed entry
  • Only those who are wearing masks and face cover will be given permission

What happens if a symptomatic person insists on giving the exam?

The 2 September guidelines said that if a student is found to be symptomatic and insists on giving the examination, he may be allowed to take examination by shifting the candidate to a separate isolation room. However, that stands revised as on 10 September.

A symptomatic candidate should be referred to the nearest health center and given an opportunity to undertake the examination through other means or universities shall arrange for a later date when the student can take the exam. However, if a student is symptomatic, the permission or denial of such, shall be granted as per policy already enunciated by the Examination Conducting Authority.

This means, suppose the person is giving NEET exam, the NTA will decide what happens if the candidate is symptomatic.

What items are mandatory for students to take to the exam center?

Students should be given prior intimation on what should they carry, including:

  • Face mask
  • Water bottle
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Admit card
  • ID card
  • Bags/books/mobiles should not be allowed in the examination center

Will there be physical checking of the candidate before exam?

Frisking of examinees, if needed, shall be undertaken after thermal screening

What are the general precautions that should be taken at the exam center?

  • Only those examination centers which are outside the containment zone shall be allowed to function
  • It is mandatory to maintain six-feet physical distance between two people
  • Exams should be scheduled in a staggered manner so as to avoid overcrowding at the centre
  • Adequate room capacity to conduct exams
  • Appropriate arrangements like face cover, face masks, sanitizers, soaps, etc should be available at exam centers
  • Adequate manpower should be deployed to ensure that social distancing norms are maintained
  • Ensure that there is enough ventilation at the examination center

What happens if a candidate develops symptoms during the course of the exam?

  • Place the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others
  • The person will remain isolated while wearing a mask/face cover till such time he/she is examined by a doctor
  • The examinees exhibiting symptoms and willing to give the examination, may be allowed to take examination by shifting the candidate to a separate isolation room
  • If health condition deteriorates, inform the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) or call the state or district helpline
  • A risk assessment shall be undertaken by the designated public health authority (district RRT/treating physician) and accordingly further action should be initiated
  • Disinfection of the premises to be taken up if a person is found positive

Are there SOPs for the exam centers to maintain sanitation and hygiene?

  • Examination hall and other common areas shall be sanitized each time before and after examination
  • Effective and frequent sanitation within the premises shall be maintained with particular focus on lavatories, drinking and hand washing stations/areas
  • Cleaning and regular disinfection (using 1 percent sodium hypochlorite) of frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, elevator buttons, handrails, benches, washroom fixtures, etc) to be made mandatory
  • Students and staff should be advised to dispose of used face covers/masks in covered bins available at the centre
  • For online/computer based examination, the systems shall be disinfected using alcohol wipes before and after conduct of examination

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