This was a return to schools, which no student in Kerala would have ever imagined, compared to their last day at school, in March.
Since the lockdown came into effect on account of Covid-19, all the examinations for around 1.3 million students of Class 10 and 12 were postponed indefinitely and after a bit of hunky-dory, the examinations finally began on Tuesday.
After the announcement early this month, that the examination will soon begin, there were numerous announcements in the media and in the social media, that the return to school, will be a totally different one.
As expected, Tuesday morning, when students came to write the Vocational Higher Secondary Examination - Class 12, there were no high-fives or hugs, customary of school students, after the return following a long break.
At the entrance of the school were teachers in masks, checking if every student had a mask and asked all not to rush or run, instead wait in queue to reach their classroom.
"Every arrangement was made in the school. At the entrance itself we made sure to tell the students the importance of physical distancing. The temperature of every student was checked. They were given sanitizers to clean their hands and then to their respective classrooms. In one bench only 2 students are allowed and in a classroom only 20," said a teacher manning the students.
There were separate classrooms for students who had their near or dear ones in isolation in their homes.
With a more than two month break, at most schools, teachers had formed WhatsApp groups and communication was constantly passed to the students on how they should behave once at the school.
"Practically every day for the past one week I was interacting with my students that I am in charge, through WhatsApp. So by today everyone knew how to behave. We also have instructed all to bring their own drinking water and adequate stock of pens and pencils. For those who fail to bring their own water bottle, will be given in disposable cups," said a teacher in Palakkad.
For Atul, a VHSE Class 12 student in the hilly district of Idukki, hailing from Adimali, he got it all wrong and was under the impression that his examination was in the afternoon session and was taking it easy, when he received a call from his school, asking why he is not coming.
When he was told he has his examination in the morning session and time was fast approaching, the local police officials turned a Good Samaritan and drove him 24 kms to the school and by the time he reached, it was 15 minutes late, but he was allowed to take the examination.
"It will be difficult to control ourselves especially when it comes to maintaining physical distancing as we are all meeting after two months, but, all know we have to control and behave ourselves, taking into the guidelines by the health authorities, who are working for us," said a Class X girl student.
The invigilators in all the schools have been asked to wear gloves also.
With the schools all set to open soon for the new academic year, the conduct of these examinations appear to have come handy for the school authorities as they have got a feel on what and how things will be when regular classes commence.
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