Almost 500,000 highschool college students are sitting the take a look at with stringent measures imposed to curb the virus.
South Korea fell quiet on Thursday as a whole lot of hundreds of scholars sat for the nation’s high-stakes nationwide college entrance examination amid a surge in coronavirus instances that has prompted new measures to curb its unfold, together with for candidates sitting the take a look at.
Youngsters spend years making ready for the examination, which might imply a spot in one of many elite faculties which are seen as key to future careers, incomes and even marriage prospects.
This yr, the coronavirus pandemic has added to the stress – delaying and disrupting the college yr and at occasions forcing all lessons on-line.
On the elite Ewha Ladies’ International Language Excessive Faculty many college students arrived on their very own or with their test-taking associates and a few mother and father appeared extra nervous than their kids. Tightened curbs following a wave of latest instances meant college students had been banned from cheering on their classmates on the faculty gates as they arrived for the examination.
“I’m really fairly relieved now that it’s all going to be over quickly,” stated 18-year-old Kim Chae-eun.
“This examination is necessary as a result of Korean society makes you research your entire life up until this level for this one examination.”
South Korea introduced its outbreak underneath management earlier within the yr with an efficient system of “hint, take a look at and deal with”, however in latest weeks new instances have surged once more.
On Thursday, the Korea Illness Management and Prevention Company (KDCA) introduced 540 new instances, bringing the nation’s whole caseload to 35,703, and the authorities have warned measures may must be tightened additional if instances usually are not introduced underneath management this week.
The nation operates a five-tier social-distancing system and larger Seoul – dwelling to roughly half the nation’s inhabitants – was placed on Stage 2 on November 24 as instances started to rise.
The examination itself is a specific concern, with practically 500,000 pupils gathering in take a look at centres throughout the nation.
College students had been checked on arrival and people displaying temperatures of 37.5 Celsius (99.5 Fahrenheit) or larger – or different coronavirus signs – needed to take the take a look at in a separate, designated space.
Plastic see-through dividers had been arrange on every desk and college students had been required to put on masks all through the take a look at.
All candidates had been suggested to chorus from gathering and speaking throughout breaks, with examination rooms to be ventilated after every session.
The examination itself was delayed for 2 weeks because of the earlier disruptions to instructing, as all excessive faculties throughout the nation returned to on-line lessons for per week to try to stop faculty clusters.
“Will probably be much more tough and worrisome to take the examination within the coronavirus scenario,” President Moon Jae-in wrote in a great luck message posted on social media. “I’d prefer to put heat scarves round your necks.”
South Korea pulls out all of the stops to make sure the take a look at takers usually are not disturbed.
Authorities places of work, companies and even Seoul’s inventory market opened an hour later than typical to cut back visitors and assist the scholars arrive on time, and police escorts had been accessible for any operating late – nobody is allowed into the examination room as soon as the take a look at has begun.
As well as, all flights at South Korean airports are suspended for 35 minutes throughout an English listening take a look at, whereas all plane already within the air should keep an altitude larger than three kilometres (9,843 ft).
The transport ministry stated 89 flights had been rescheduled because of the examination, together with 10 worldwide routes.
And there have been no concessions for the contaminated: the federal government stated 35 college students who’ve the virus had been resulting from take the take a look at concurrently their classmates, at hospitals or quarantine centres and supervised by schooling officers in full private protecting tools.
A authorities demonstration video confirmed every thing they used – from pencils to the identify tag figuring out their desk – could be disposed of as a biohazard afterwards.