Tamil Nadu is gearing up to conduct class 10 exams beginning June 15. The exams will extend up to June 25. With this, one class 11 exam has been scheduled on June 16 and a class 12 re-examination for absentees for the March 24th exam will be held on June 18. The government has issued a set of guidelines for conducting the examinations.
The SOP mandates thermal screening of all candidates, staff and teachers using no-touch thermometer every morning before entering the centre. While the average normal body temperature is generally accepted as 98.6°F (37°C), the SOP acknowledges that the “normal" body temperature can have a wide range, from 97°F (36.1°C) to 99°F (37.2°C).
Taking into account the mental state of a student, who might feel tense or anxious before taking an exam, the SOP makes provisions when there is a marginal increase in the person’s body temperature. “The persons who show temperature above 37.2°C may be segregated and allowed to calm down while a few others are being scanned. The segregated persons' temperature may be taken again. If the reading is more than 37.2°C again, then those students may be visually examined for any obvious symptoms of illness which could prevent them from writing the examination,” reads the instruction.
If a person other than a candidate for the examination has recorded above normal temperature, then they may be advised to return home and take rest. Whereas, if it is a student, based on the symptoms shown, the protocols change. Display of COVID-19 symptoms warrants the student to be sent to a hospital or to their house.
Should the symptoms indicate Influenza like illness (ILI) and if the student who has not tested positive for coronavirus wishes to write the exam, then they may be allowed to write the exam in isolation, in a separate room. On the contrary, if they have tested positive, then they will be asked to return home and take the exam at another date.
Lastly, a student with elevated temperature but no obvious symptoms of the illness, can be assigned to a room with a maximum occupancy of nine students, all displaying similar or slightly elevated temperature.
As part of its SOP, all types of government/private school hostels and welfare hostels will be functional starting June 11 until the end of exams for the sake of inter-state and inter-district students. These hostels will follow strict sanitising and physical distancing protocols.
Moreover, the government will take measures to facilitate inter-district transport of teachers and students to their respective exam/evaluation centre and to provide adequate government/private school transport to the exam/evaluation centre. These vehicles will also have to be sanitised regularly while adhering to physical distancing during seating arrangements.
While students and teachers have appealed to avoid inter-district travels, requesting the state to allow them to their exam or evaluation duties in the district they are in, the School Education Department is yet to make an announcement in this regard.