BENGALURU: Another SSLC student was confirmed COVID-positive, the third to do so, on Sunday. The student was from an exam centre in Padubidri, and had written both the English and Maths papers, when one of his parents tested positive.
On Saturday, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Suresh Kumar told media of two other cases — one in Mallipattana in Arkalgud, Hassan, where a 16-year-old tested positive while writing the maths paper on Saturday, and another in Laxmeshwar in Gadag. Two primary and 19 secondary contacts of the student were quarantined.
Besides this, SSLC officials in Pavagada, Tumakuru, were quarantined when an official who visited the centre tested positive. Yet, the minister remained confident about conducting examinations. “I assure you that the education department will take care of these children even after examinations,” he told the media on Sunday.
The department confirmed that the 18 students who had shared the exam hall at Hassan’s Mallipattana Government PU College with a student whose tested positive, and the invigilator who supervised the hall, have all tested negative. All the students will appear for the next examination as usual from Monday, said officials.
An additional protocol such as 6-ft gap between two desks, one student per bench, and N95 masks will be in place. The Bangalore Student Community sent an appeal to the department of primary and secondary education, urging the cancellation of the SSLC examination. The exams put the rights of lakhs of minor students at risk, and also compromises their fundamental right to health and life, they said.
The state is exposing over 8.3 lakh minor students and other individuals to high risk of infection, they added. Niranjanaradhya VP, senior fellow, CCL-NLSIU, said: “I sincerely appeal to the minister to reconsider the state’s decision to continue exams, before things go out of hand. Medical experts and members of the task force are of the opinion that the pandemic has entered the third stage, ie community spread. We are in a high-risk state and bringing students in groups to write the exam is risky. The state itself is pushing for it, and has a primary obligation not push children into greater risk.”