Thiruvananthapuram: Wearing masks and following social distancing norms, over 13 lakh students in Kerala on Tuesday are appearing for the SSLC, Higher Secondary and Vocational Higher Secondary School examinations.
The board exams were postponed due to the coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown.
Over 4,78 lakh students appeared for the SSLC examination while 56,345 wrote the VHSSE papers, The higher secondary exams would commence from Wednesday.
The examinations, postponed since March, are being held by following strict health safety standards and would continue till May 30.
Fire force had disinfected the 2945 centres across the state.
The students have been asked to maintain social distancing, ensure hand hygiene and wear masks.
They underwent thermal screening at the entry point and cannot exchange pens and other instruments with others.
Those with mild flu-like symptoms would be seated in separate room and a sanitised corridor has been prepared at examination centres for students coming from hotspots and those placed under quarantine.
The invigilators wore triple-layer masks and gloves and a team of health officials were present at each centre.
“The pending SSLC exams are being conducted from May 26, 27 and 28. The HSE will be from May 27 to 30 and the VHSE will be conducted from May 26 to 30,” director of General Education K Jeevan Babu said.
The education department has provided masks for the students who reach the exam centres.
There would be less interaction between the students and the teachers and after the exams, the classrooms and furniture would be disinfected, he said.
“Once the students reach the exam centre, they must not mingle as was the usual practice but maintain social distancing. Special arrangements have been made for students from other states and those coming from containment zones,” he said.
The exams are also being conducted at 20 hotspots in Kerala.
“Due to practical difficulties, the exam centres were not shifted as the number of hotspots change each day, it would be practically difficult to change the centres as per the dynamic changes of containment zones in the state,” a senior official of the education department said.
Some of the students said this was a “new experience” for them.
“Appearing for the exams in masks, using sanitisers are our a new experience for us. Normally, we sit together and revise portions. We are seeing our classmates after a long time. But we are strictly following the social distancing norms,” a student said.
The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) would ply additional 343 services for students.
“The students from Karnataka will be provided bus service from Kerala border. They will have to register with the web portal and will be taken to Kerala with or without the pass,” the official said.
A total of 297 students, appearing for the examinations, are from Karnataka and 33 of them wrote the exams near the border areas.
“Accommodation has also been arranged for the students from Karnataka as they will have to undergo mandatory a 14- day quarantine when they reach Kerala for exams,” education department said. (PTI)