By Priyanka Sharma
New Delhi [India], September 10 (ANI): The Union Health Ministry has revised Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on preventive measures to be followed while conducting exams to contain the COVID-19 spread and said that authorities conducting the examination should decide whether symptomatic candidate can write the exam or not at the examination centre.
The ministry said that in regular course, a symptomatic candidate should be referred to the nearest health center and given an opportunity to undertake the examination "through other means or the universities/educational institution shall arrange for taking exam at a later date when the student is declared physically fit".
"However, if a student is found to be symptomatic, the permission or denial thereof, in such cases shall be granted as per the policy already enunciated on the issue by the Examination Conducting Authorities," the ministry said in its guidelines issued on Thursday.
The previous SOP had said that if a student is found to be symptomatic and insists on giving the examination, he may be allowed to take it by shifting him to a separate isolation room. "The permission in such cases shall be granted as per the policy enunciated on the issue by the Examination Conducting Authorities," it said.
Only asymptomatic staff and students shall be allowed inside the examination hall, the ministry had said.
"If any examination functionary/examinee fails to meet the self-declaration criteria, they shall not be allowed entry," it had said.
The instructions also said that entrances of the examination centres must have hand hygiene and thermal screening provisions.
"The use of face covers/masks should be made mandatory and frequent practice of hand-washing with soap for at least 40-60 seconds should be followed even when hands are not visibly dirty. The use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (for at least 20 seconds) can be made wherever feasible. Spitting shall be strictly prohibited. The installation and use of Aarogya Setu App have also been advised to all, as far as feasible," the SOP said.
Appropriate arrangements for personal protection gears like face covers/masks, and other logistics like hand sanitizers, soap, sodium hypochlorite solution shall be made by the examination conducting authorities, the ministry said.
"For pen and paper-based tests, the invigilator has to sanitize his hands prior to distribution of question papers/answer sheets. The examinees will also sanitize their hands before receiving such papers and handing them back to invigilators. The collection and packing of the answer sheets, at every stage will involve sanitization of the hands. The answer sheets will preferably be opened up after 72 hours have elapsed post collection of papers. Use of spit/saliva for counting/distributing sheets shall not be allowed," it noted.
The ministry said examination hall and other common areas shall be sanitized each time before and after the examination.
"For online/computer-based examination, the systems shall be disinfected using alcohol wipes before and after the conduct of examination," the SOP said. (ANI)
By Priyanka Sharma