Students, staff from containment zones not allowed at exam centres: Health Ministry SOPs

NEW DELHI: Staff and examinees from containment zones shall not be permitted to be physically present at exam centres and there will be alternative arrangements for such students, as per the Union Health Ministry’s latest guidelines on conducting tests during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such students shall be given an opportunity to take the exam through other means or educational institutions shall arrange their papers at a later date, according to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued Wednesday.

Also, only asymptomatic staff and students shall be allowed inside the examination hall, the SOPs stated, adding wearing face cover/mask is mandatory.

The face cover or mask has to be worn at all times inside the examination center by all, it underlined.

Authorities concerned should plan out the examination schedule in a staggered manner so as to avoid overcrowding at any examination center on any day, the SOPs stated.

Examination centers in containment zones shall not be allowed to function, it said.

Appropriate arrangements for face covers/masks, hand-sanitiser, soap, sodium hypochlorite solution etc. shall be made available by universities, educational institutions, examination conducting authorities or examination centers to the staff as well as students, it said.

“Exam functionary and examinees may also submit self-declaration about health status at the time of entrance to the examination center. Such self-declaration form may be circulated at the time of issue of admit tickets,” the guidelines said.

If any examination functionary/examinee fails to meet the self-declaration criteria, they shall not be allowed entry, the SOPs underlined.

For pen and paper-based tests, the SOPs outline that the invigilator will sanitise his/her hands prior to the distribution of question papers/answer sheets and the examinees will also sanitise their hands before receiving or handing back these materials.

The collection and packing of the answer sheets at every stage will involve sanitization of the hands. The answer sheets will preferably be opened up after 72 hours have elapsed post collection of papers, the guidelines recommended.

“Use of spit/saliva for counting and distributing sheets shall not be allowed,” the SOPs stated.

For online or computer-based examination, the systems shall be disinfected using alcohol wipes before and after conduct of examination and record of all exam functionaries and examinees should be maintained in the system for future reference and traceability, the guidelines underlined.

Entrances of examination centres should have mandatory hand hygiene and thermal screening provisions, it said.

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