NEW DELHI: A day after the Joint Entrance Examination (Main) kicked off across India amid huge resistance from students and students’ bodies, the Union health ministry directed that staff and examinees from containment areas should not be permitted at the examination centres.
“Staff and examinees from containment zones shall not be permitted,” said the ministry in the SOP on preventive measures to be followed while conducting examinations to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The examination related guidelines issued by the National Testing Agency, which is organising JEE (Main) and the National Eligibility and Entrance Test, several days back had, however, not barred examinees from containment areas from appearing in the tests.
While JEE (Main) is to be held till September 6, NEET is scheduled for September 13.
“Such examinees (from containment areas) 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,” the latest SOP by the health ministry says.
It also said that examination centres cannot be inside the containment zones and symptomatic candidates should be given the option to write the tests on a later date or through other means.
The SOP also laid down the standard norms on use of face masks, sanitiser, and following social distancing.
“Only asymptomatic staff and students shall be allowed inside the examination hall,” say the guidelines.
In the regular course, a symptomatic candidate should be referred to the nearest health centre and given an opportunity to undertake the examination through other means, or the university or educational institution should arrange for taking the exam at a later date when the student is declared physically fit, it says.
“However, if a student is found to be symptomatic and insists on giving the examination, he may be allowed to take the examination by shifting the candidate to a separate isolation room,” as per the SOP. The permission in such cases can be granted as per the policy already enunciated on the issue by the examination conducting authorities.
Keeping in view the physical distancing norms, institutions should have adequate room capacity to ensure proper seating arrangements for examination, the health ministry has said.
There should be appropriate arrangements for personal protection gears such as face covers or masks, and other logistics like hand sanitizers, soap, sodium hypochlorite solution shall be made available by examination centres to the staff as well as students as per requirements.
“Exam functionaries and examinees may also submit self-declaration about health status at the time of entrance to the examination centre,” the four-page SOP document says.
“Such self-declaration forms may be circulated at the time of issue of admit tickets. A simple do's and dont's or advisory may also be circulated at the time of issue of admit tickets.
The guidelines also make it clear that physical distancing norms should be ensured in the examination centre as well as outside the premises.