… positive and primary contact students isolated and ready for exams

Phurpa Lhamo 

Students appearing for the board examinations and their parents rushed to the Covid-19 testing centres in Thimphu yesterday after the education ministry conveyed the decision to test all students yesterday. However, the testing centres were closed by the time they got there.

The thromde office emailed the notification to the school principals past 4pm and it appeared on the education ministry’s Facebook page after 5pm.

The notification stated that nine schools (Dechencholing, Changangkha MSS, Changzamtog MSS, Kelki HSS, Lungtenzampa MSS, ELC, Druk School, Loselling MSS and Babesa HSS) should take their tests on February 25 (yesterday) after 2pm.

“All individuals requiring testing must go to their respective mega zone flu clinics on the specified dates. The flu clinics will remain open until 6pm,” the notification stated.

However, when students and parents reached the testing centres close to 6pm most of the testing centres were already closed.

Confused parents poured out their frustration for the last-minute notification and lack of coordination on the ministry’s page and social media. Worried, parents called thromde, schools and education officials. Since they missed the test yesterday, many said that there could be a huge crowd today at test centres posing greater risks of infection. 

The TVET and Class 12 IT students sit for their practical examinations at 9am today. The main examinations begin on February 28.

School principals, thromde officials and education ministry officials led by the education secretary and school education director general met until close to midnight yesterday to address concerns and resolve issues.

The schools were instructed to allow all students, whether they had tested or not, to sit for their practical examinations. The teachers on examination duty, including principals, and students who have not tested will test today after the exams. The other students of Classes 10 and 12 can go for tests from 10am today to centres at their respective mega zones.

The meeting also decided to seek approval and process blanket approval for the movement of more than 500 parents and around 19 principals of thromde schools.

A source said that the students in containment zones of RBP near Lungtenzampa and RBA in Lungtenphu will appear their exams in the respective campuses. Bhutan Council for School Examination and Assessment (BCSEA) officials were provided details of students who reside in these campuses and instructed to rearrange their sitting arrangements and allocate invigilators.

Meanwhile, as of yesterday, 59 students in Thimphu who had either tested positive or were residing in the red buildings have been isolated into hotels for them to take their exams. Of the 59 students, three students were Covid positive.

According to education secretary Karma Tshering the preparation was complete. Invigilators have also been identified and isolated.

The students will take their exams as instructed through a notification by the education ministry earlier.

Students will go to schools in their mega zones to take their board exams.

Preparing for the main board examinations, Wangdue dzongkhag has identified areas in Bjimthangka to keep primary contacts and Covid positive students.

According to Wangdue Dzongdag Sonam Jamtsho the students will be moved today to Bjimthangka for the examinations.

Students of Bajo HSS and Gaselo Central School, who weren’t primary contact or who are negative currently, will take their exams in Gaselo Central School.

In Gelephu, eight Covid positive students have been isolated in hotels as of yesterday. Twenty-one students, who were primary contacts, have also been isolated in hotels for their examinations.

In other schools, the examinations will be held as directed by the education ministry earlier.

Revised reporting dates

The education ministry yesterday announced the revised reporting dates for students and teachers for the 2022 academic year. All boarders students have to report on April 17 and day-scholars on April 18. ECCDs and NFE centres will also reopen on April 18. Teachers of secondary schools will report on March 14 after the class 10 and 12 examinations end.