The State chapter of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) has warned that the central and State board exams in this pandemic period should be held only if the authorities are 100% confident of ensuring social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols.
“The best option is not to conduct any exams as far as possible in the offline mode in view of the present scenario. The authorities must be fully certain about the safety guards, if they wish to go ahead and conduct the exams,” pointed out M. Narayanan, president of IAP, Kerala.
“The unimmunised children can form a group of super spreaders, especially when there are mutant strains spreading at a very fast rate. We can think of holding the exams in the offline mode only if the government and the authorities are confident of breaking the chain and ensuring other pandemic protocols,” he said.
Stating that it was up to the governments to decide on whether to take up such a risk, Dr. Narayanan reminded that the previous experience had shown that it may not be possible to ensure full compliance of the protocols. “The ball is now in the government's court, and they need to take an appropriate decision,” he said.
Pointing out that there should be no lapses once the authorities decide to conduct the offline exam, Dr. Narayanan said that the teaching and non-teaching staff should be immunised before the start of the exams.
“This would help in checking the possibility of students getting infected while receiving the question papers and answer sheets from the invigilators or while interacting with them,” he said.
The Kerala IAP had come across violations of protocols, especially in aspects related to the transportation of students from their homes to the exam centres and crowding of students to discuss their question papers during the exams held earlier amidst the pandemic crisis.