Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and Higher Education Minister Ashwath Narayan, dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE), visited the Karnataka Common Entrance Test (K-CET) centres on Thursday where students who tested positive for the coronavirus were allowed to write the examination. They were seated in a separate room.
While 60 COVID-19 patients had registered for the examinations, 49 appeared for the Biology examination and 57 appeared for the Mathematics examination.
In all, 1.94 lakh students registered for the examinations being held on July 30 and 31. Around 1.47 lakh students wrote the Biology examination on Thursday morning, while 1.73 lakh students wrote the Mathematics exam on the same evening.
The entrance examination for professional courses in engineering, agriculture among others was held on Thursday after the Karnataka High Court rejected a plea asking for the examinations to be deferred.
Minister Ashwath Narayan said that as many as 60 students infected with the coronavirus had registered for Thursday's Mathematics and Biology examinations. Of the 60 students, 49 students appeared for the Biology examination and 57 students appeared for the Mathematics examination.
The Karnataka government arranged transportation and food facilities for students infected with the coronavirus who were writing the examination. In the Biology examination conducted on Thursday morning, 15 students infected with the virus wrote the examinations: five in Bengaluru, five in Mysuru and five in Ballari.
Students infected with the virus were picked up in ambulances from their homes, hospitals, COVID-Care Centres and were allowed to write the exams in designated COVID-Care Centres.
75% of the students who registered appeared for the Biology examination and 89% of the students registered appeared for the Mathematics examination. The attendance numbers were slightly lower than in 2019 when 79% of the students appeared for the Biology examination and 91% of the students appeared for the Mathematics examination.
The tests were conducted in 497 examination centres across Karnataka. Over 42,000 students registered for the examination in Bengaluru and 21,367 appeared for the Biology examination and 34,333 appeared for the Mathematics examination in various exam centres on Thursday. The Physics and Chemistry examinations will be conducted on Friday.
Earlier this week, the Karnataka High Court had asked the state government to reconsider its decision to hold the examinations due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state. But the counsel appearing for the government in the High Court confirmed in a submission that the state government would hold the examinations as per the schedule.
The High Court was hearing a petition filed by students asking for the examinations to be deferred. The National Students Union of India (NSUI), the student wing of the Indian National Congress, had also attached itself to the petition.
Karnataka currently has 69,700 active COVID-19 cases after the state reported 6,128 new cases on Thursday.