Despite the Karnataka government’s tall claims that all precautions had been taken to safeguard students who are taking their SSLC (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) exams, a student who appeared for his Mathematics exam at a centre in Mallapatna Government School in Arkalgud taluk of Hassan district has tested positive for Covid-19.
Officials of the Department of Public Instruction said that nineteen other students, who had appeared for exams in the same room with the Covid-19 positive student, have now been quarantined.
Explaining how this happened, Primary and Secondary education minister S Suresh Kumar said, “The student had recovered from Dengue recently and a throat swab had been sent for testing after he had developed an Infulenza like illness (ILI). The moment the test results came the examination centre head was informed by the district authorities and the student was shifted to another room where he completed the exam. The case maybe asymptomatic as the student had recorded normal temperature,” the minister added.
DPI officials said they were yet to take a decision on whether all the other 19 students too who wrote exams along-with the one who has tested positive would be allowed to take further exams or asked to do so during supplementary exams in August. “We are monitoring their health and an expert committee will take a call on the matter,” a DPI official said.
The minister meanwhile said that in order to prevent such incidents from recurring, it has been decided to bar all students whose throat swabs have been taken for Covid-19 testing from attending any more exams.
The exams which started on Thursday, June 25 will go on till July 4 and the decision of the government to go ahead with them had attracted considerable criticism from students, parents and opposition party leaders. About 8.5 lakh students are taking the SSLC exams across the state.