Phurpa Lhamo  

Around 130 Class X and XII students sit in isolation inside Kuendrup Higher Secondary School’s hostel rooms to recover from Covid-19.

The virus isn’t their only concern though. They have board examinations scheduled for February 28.

One of the female students said that they are worried. “Some of my friends say they cannot study because they have tested positive.”

In the past months, the pandemic has left the students uncertain and confused about their board exams until the Ministry of Education (MoE) issued a notification setting the dates for the exams under different Covid-19 scenarios. Initially, the exams were scheduled to begin on February 14 of this year.

The MoE’s latest notification stated that exams were scheduled to begin on February 28 only if the lockdown ceased. However, if there is a surge in the cases in days prior to the exams, the exams will be postponed.

The student said that the inconsistency had left many feeling hopeless about how much time they’ve  invested into studying and reviewing.

“Students also feel that many will fail,” she said. “But I try to stay strong because if I tell myself I am weak then I will feel so.”

Teachers, meanwhile, keep in touch with students and help continue their lessons and revision.

Some students preparing for the exams at home shared their financial challenges on social media platforms.

The Changzamtog Middle Secondary School management also stepped in to help a few students with essential items at home and also provided data recharges for online classes.

Principal Sonam Phuntsho said, “We didn’t mean to upload but there were a few donors from outside the school system. We don’t want to undermine the status of the students.”

He said that the students and teachers were equally worried about the decisions for the board exams. “Along with last year’s Class X students, we have new students coming. So we worry that there will be a lack of space and logistical issues as well.”

If the exams are to be held in containment mode, the school is prepared, said the principal.

Meanwhile, Nangkor Central School of Pemagatshel is focusing on having students engage in activities apart from their academic lessons. Students also took yoga and meditation lessons. The students entered the self-contained zone on January 19 and teachers followed on January 22.

Nangkor CS Principal Phurba Tashi said that a full-time senior counsellor was also in the school to help students. He added that for teachers residing in classrooms in containment mode, heaters and carpets were also provided.

“We don’t have many issues with students as there is enough space for day scholars without Class IX and XI students,” he said.

Most teachers in containment mode have their homes adjacent to the school and if they need anything, it can be placed at the drop-off point from where things can be quarantined, the principal said.