Health Ministry Releases Revised SOPs on Conducting Exams

The Union Health Ministry has released a revised SOP [Standard Operating Procedure] for holding examinations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry has issued this notice on Thursday. It has discarded the facility that permitted symptomatic students who compel on taking up an examination to do so in isolation. As per the revised instructions of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the educational institutions and exam conducting officials must devise the schedule sequentially to evade congestion at the test venues on any examination day.

Health Ministry Releases Revised SOPs on Conducting Exams
Health Ministry Releases Revised SOPs on Conducting Exams

The revived SOPs issued by the Ministry stated ‘Only those examination centers which are outside the containment zone shall be allowed to function. The staff/examinees from containment zones shall not be permitted.’ The candidates who couldn’t take up the exam along with other examinees should be given a chance to undertake the exam via other means. The revised SOPs also mentioned that the educational institution or universities or the agency need to make relevant arrangements for such students.

To hold the examination to such candidates, the educational institutions must provide adequate room capacity and make sure the seating arrangement is perfect. On 2nd September, the ministry had issued instructions saying that the staff and candidates from containment zones will not be allowed to be physically present at the test venues. For such candidates, the management or concerned authorities will be offering alternative arrangements.

The concerned authorities need to take proper measures to conduct the exam for those students at a later date once they are certified physically fit. The revised SOP reads, ‘However, if a student is found to be symptomatic, the permission or denial thereof, in such cases shall be granted as per the policy already enunciated on the issue by the Examination Conducting Authorities.’

As per the recently issued SOP, the corresponding educational institutions, universities, and examination conducting authorities will make necessary arrangements for ensuring personal protection. It includes providing face masks, hand sanitizers, soap, sodium hypochlorite solution, and more. All these essential gears will be provided to the students and the staff at each test venue.

To evade overcrowding at the exam centers, there should be an adequate number of entry and exit gates. Moreover, everyone must follow proper social distancing measures of about 6 feet while standing in a queue to enter into the exam hall. The SOP guidelines also mentioned, ‘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 SOP stressed that if any exam official or candidate fails to meet the self-declaration conditions, they shall not be permitted entry into the test venue. For paper and pen-based exams, the SOP stated that the invigilators must sanitize his or her hands before the question paper and answer sheets’ distribution. Even the students must sanitize their hands before receiving or giving back those things. The SOP stated, ‘Use of spit/saliva for counting and distributing sheets shall not be allowed.’ 

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