A student appearing for the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) exams in Karnataka tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection on Saturday, officials of the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) said. The student was writing the Mathematics exam at a centre in Hassan district when the authorities were informed about the situation, they added.
“The 16-year-old was attending the exam in a centre situated in Arkalgud town in Hassan. He had recovered from dengue recently and had sent the swab for testing after developing an Influenza-like illness a couple of days back,” Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar confirmed during a press meet in Bengaluru.
He added that the examination centre chief was informed by the district administration as soon as the test results were out. “The student was immediately shifted to another separate classroom where he completed the examination. However, the case can be termed asymptomatic as the student is said to have recorded normal temperature before entering the exam hall,” Suresh Kumar said.
Meanwhile, DPI officials confirmed there were 19 other students who attended the exam in the same hall.
Explaining the situation, the Minister added that health officials would “closely monitor” their health condition. “A committee comprising health experts will decide if they should be allowed to attend the remaining exams,” Suresh Kumar said.
When asked how a student whose sample was taken for testing was allowed to attend the exam, he said the students should not have attended the exam ideally. To avoid such incidents, the department Saturday decided to disallow students whose swabs are taken for Covid-19 tests to attend the remaining exams.
“The department will coordinate with health officials to verify the data of people in the age group of 14 to 16, whose samples are taken for testing. Such students will be allowed to attend the supplementary exams as fresh candidates,” Suresh Kumar clarified.
Meanwhile, an official on exam duty had tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday in Pavagada taluk in Tumkur district, forcing the education department to send all staff members deployed at the exam centre to go on quarantine.
Clarifying the same, Suresh Kumar said the official was not deployed for invigilation in any exam room. “The officer on duty at Arasikere Government High School, Pavagada, had tested positive on Friday evening after he left the place. However, the official was deployed for duty only at the chief examiner’s room and had not visited any exam room where students were seated,” he said.
The SSLC exams, which began on Thursday, had recorded a 98.3 per cent attendance for the first exam. The same on Saturday was 97.9 per cent, statistics shared by KSEEB indicated.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar had visited several exam centres in Bengaluru earlier during the day to inspect whether social distancing measures and guidelines set by the health department were being followed.
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