The Karnataka Education Minister has denied reports that 32 students who gave Class 10 state board exams got infected with coronavirus from the test centres. The exams that started on June 25 despite concerns among parents amid the COVID-19 pandemic ended on Friday.
"I can vouch for this that not even a single student got infected at the examination centres. The 32 students tested positive at various stages and were carrying it (coronavirus) from other places," Karnataka Education Minister Suresh Kumar told NDTV.
Several students who showed symptoms of the highly infectious disease were turned away from the exam centres after thorough screening. All the infected students would be given a chance in the supplementary exam in August as fresh students.
Mr Kumar said the 32 students who tested positive were not allowed to take the exam, and the number was cumulatively 32 over the six days of the exam. In two cases, students who had been randomly tested took the exam and were later shown to be positive, he said. All students in the hall with them - 18 of them - were tested and found to be negative.
Over 7.5 lakh students appeared for the Secondary School Leaving Certificate or SSLC exams in Karnataka on the first day on June 25.
The exams had been held with strict safety measures in place, including thermal screening and seating of only one student per bench.
Former chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah in a tweet criticised Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa for putting students in harm's way. "@CMofKarnataka seems to be motivated & overconfident to conduct more exams after 'assuming' that SSLC exams were conducted safely. I too hope that everybody are safe. But we will have to wait for 15 days to know the exact outcome," Siddaramaiah tweeted.
.@CMofKarnataka seems to be motivated & overconfident to conduct more exams after 'assuming' that SSLC exams were conducted safely.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) July 4, 2020
I too hope that everybody are safe. But we will have to wait for 15 days to know the exact outcome.
The exams, originally scheduled from March 27 but put off indefinitely due to the lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic, began with the "Language 2" paper. An attendance of 98 was reported by the state Education Department on the first day.
The world over, government are still trying to work out ways for resuming education amid the pandemic. The Health Ministry has said elderly people, young children and those who are already suffering from medical conditions are more vulnerable to the coronavirus.