Only those examination centres which are outside the containment zone will be allowed to function or conduct the examination, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday in its Standard operating procedures (SOP) on preventive measures to be followed while conducting examinations to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The Health Ministry has issued specific preventive measures which have to be strictly followed by the students and staff of the examination centre. All staff and students to be allowed entry only if using face cover or masks. The face cover/mask has to be worn at all time inside the examination centre by all.
“For planning the examination, only those examination centres which are outside the containment zone will be allowed to function. Staff/examinees from containment zones shall not be permitted. Such examinees shall be given an opportunity to undertake the examination through other means or the universities/educational institution shall arrange for taking the exam at a later date for such students,” read the SOP.
Universities and examination centres may plan out the examination schedule in a staggered manner so as to avoid overcrowding at any examination centre on any day, it said.
The SOP noted that only asymptomatic staff and students shall be allowed inside the examination hall. “The entrances of the examination centres should 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,” it said.
As per the SOP, the physical distancing of at least six feet is to be followed at exam centres as far as feasible.
“The use of face covers/masks should be made mandatory and frequent practice of hand-washing with soap for at least 40-60 seconds should be followed even when hands are not visibly dirty. The use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (for at least 20 seconds) can be made wherever feasible. Spitting shall be strictly prohibited. The installation and use of Aarogya Setu App have also been advised to all, as far as feasible,” it reads.
Appropriate arrangements for personal protection gears like face covers/masks, and other logistic like hand sanitizers, soap, sodium hypochlorite solution etc. shall be made, said the SOP.
“For pen & paper-based tests, the invigilator will sanitize his hands prior to distribution of question papers/answer sheets. The examinees will also sanitize their hands before receiving such papers and handing them back to invigilators. 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. Use of spit/saliva for counting/distributing sheets shall not be allowed,” it noted.
The examination centre should have a designated isolation room for isolating any person who is found symptomatic at the time of screening or during the examination, till such time medical advice may be sought, it said.
Examination hall and other common areas shall be sanitized each time before and after the examination. “For online/computer-based examination, the systems shall be disinfected using alcohol wipes before and after the conduct of examination,” it said.