- Loreni Tsanglao, NET Correspondent, Nagaland
The Nagaland Government on Saturday issued a set of guidelines to be followed across the state during the conduct of the 2022 High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) and Higher Secondary School Leaving Certificate (HSSLC) examinations.
The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which were issued by the State Home Commissioner – Abhijit Sinha stipulated that the number of examinees or candidates in a room or hall at any examination centre should not exceed more than 50% of the total capacity.
All the invigilators/examiners/teachers/non-teaching staff at the examination centres should be asymptomatic and fully vaccinated against COVID-19. “If not vaccinated, then the person concerned should have been tested negative for COVID-19 through either RT-PCR or TrueNat or CBNAAT once in every 15 (fifteen) days,” it said.
All the examinees or candidates will be advised, by giving wide publicity by the Department of School Education, to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at least the first dose if above 15 years of age, and both the doses if above 18 years of age, according to the SOP.
Students, invigilators and all related personnel in the examinations centres were also directed to observe all COVID-19 appropriate behaviours like compulsory wearing of face masks, frequent hand sanitising or washing, along with all other guidelines already in practice in schools and institutions.
Symptomatic examinees & candidates
If any examinee or candidate is found to be symptomatic, but is physically fit enough to move around and can, without any difficulties sit and write the exam, the order stated that the student may come to the examination centre and appear for the examination carrying a COVID-l9 negative test report through either RT-PCR or TrueNat or CBNAAT, with the swab taken for testing not earlier than 48 hours.
The Centre Superintendent will make arrangements to let the symptomatic examinees or candidates sit in a separate room by maintaining all the SOPs, it added.
Guidelines for COVID-19 infected candidates
The order also stated that students who test positive for COVID-19 during the exam period would not be allowed to enter the examination centres or sit for the exams. Instead, they would be given another chance to appear the missed exams provided their positive results are certified by the Medical Department, Government of Nagaland.
“For those COVID-19 positive cases who could not appear for examinations, the Nagaland Board of School Education shall give another opportunity to appear the examination at a later date, which shall be duly notified by the Board,” the order stated.
Along with this, the order stated that the candidates, on being tested negative, would be allowed to sit for the remaining subjects after producing negative COVID-19 test reports certified by the Medical Department. In such cases, it said that the Centre Superintendent will make arrangements to let the candidate sit in a separate room by maintaining the SOPs, it said.
Directing the NBSE to keep the question paper sets and examination materials ready to hold a separate examination for those candidates/examinees that tested COVID-19 positive and recovered only after completion of the main examinations, the order stated that “This shall be a one-time measure to ensure that the candidates/examinees are not deprived of appearing the Board examinations, 2022.”
Guidelines for Public with Disabilities (PwDs)
In order to ensure the safety of persons with disabilities, the order stipulated that a separate room would be allotted PwD candidates appearing for the examinations.
In cases where scribes are allowed, the order stated that both the candidate and scribe will wear face mask and hand gloves. Items used by the PwD candidate/examinee will be sanitized regularly, it added.
Arrangements for exams
The Home Commissioner’s order meanwhile directed all Centre Superintendents to regularly disinfect classrooms, washrooms and all facilities that will be used by examines during the exam period.
It also said that the seating arrangements should be made observing social distancing of six feet as far as feasible and all examination halls or rooms should be well ventilated.
Additionally, it directed Centre Superintendents to keep sick or medical rooms ready and equipped with basic essential items like face masks, hand gloves, and sanitised beds. Along with display of proper instructions on how to treat any patient during the exam period, it also recommended that doctor’s services are arranged on call basis in case of emergencies.
Any violation of the provisions of the above SOP shall attract action as per the provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005, and other legal provisions, as applicable, against the officials conducting the examinations/ invigilators/teachers/ assistants/ non-teaching staff/ examinees/ candidates as the case may be, the order stated.