Finally, after long and strenuous months of uncertainty, board exams for Classes X and XII are here. As you walk into the exam hall today, may the road rise up to meet you and the wind always be at your back. Good luck and best wishes!

The pandemic put paid to our plans and dreams and we had to resort to quick and hard decisions. Students already have gone through so much trouble with online classes as rising virus attacks brought abrupt lockdowns which threatened to tip our fragile structure of instruction over the edge. But we didn’t cop out, because your future was at stake.

It will not be easy, though. There is the pressure to excel and look beyond and there is the stress to handle which comes with the kind of closed environment you are in today. There is fear; it must be suffocating. At such times and in such situations, care and focus is all you need.

Hit the ground running and keep away from risks—avoid crowding and wear your face mask at all times; put your heart and mind to preparations. Getting used to the new, restricted environment will be hard but all these, too, shall pass.

Know that arrangements have been made to make sitting exams convenient. Examination centres have been identified for students who test Covid-19 positive. To ensure that students are fully protected from the virus, separate facilities have been arranged for those who are primary contacts.

In Thimphu, exam centres are established in respective mega-zone, and the three-star hotels have been activated for positive and primary contact students. Bus services are also offered. Parents of students who turn Covid-19 positive can choose to stay with their children at the centres. And, counselling services will be made available for all students across the country, particularly for those in the isolation facilities.

Students who are unable to sit for the exam this time will be offered another opportunity at the end of March.

All efforts are being made by the government to make this critical phase of your life and academic experience less cumbersome. All you need to do is put up with the small inconveniences. It is only temporary—and focus on your exams.

As you walk into the exam hall today, may the sun shine warm upon your face and rains fall soft upon your fields. With prayers earnest—all the best!