Sixty COVID-19 positive students were among the 1.47 lakh who appeared for the Karnataka Common Entrance Test for engineering and other courses which began on Thursday with precautionary measures such as social distancing. "Out of the 1.94 lakh students who had enrolled for it, a total of 1.47 lakh appeared on the first day of the three-day test at 497 centres across the state, marking about 75 per cent attendance", Deputy Chief Minister Dr C N Ashwath Narayan said in a press conference.
He said 60 of the students, including 12 from the city, were infected by the coronavirus and special arrangements, including seperate seating had been made for them. 'Elaborate arrangements were made for the COVID-19 infected students to appear for the exam. They were brought to the examination centres and dropped back to their respective places in the department's ambulance,' the Deputy Chief Minister said.
Taking a cue from the smooth conduct of the SSLC and the pre-university examinations by the Department of Public Instruction, the state government proceeded with holding the CET for admission to engineering, agriculture and pharma courses.
Separate sitting arrangements have been made for the COVID-19 students and they faced the examination courageously, he said.
As part of precautionary measures, usage of masks and sanitisers were made mandatory.
To maintain social distancing, a maximum of 24 students are allowed in one exam hall, he said.
Earlier in the day, he said: 'We are abiding by the guidelines issued by the high court. Masks, sanitisers and social distancing are mandatory for the students. There are no shortcomings in the arrangements by the government. Students can happily appear for the exam.'
The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday rejected a plea for a stay on the exams by petitioners who expressed concern that conduct of the test would push the candidates to the risk of COVID-19 and laid down guidelines to ensure safety of the students.
Narayan said this year the counselling for the allotment of seats will be entirely done online. Meanwhile, at Government Dental College at Ballari, an invigilator appeared in personal protection equipment covering himself completely.
Five COVID infected students, who appeared for the exam, expressed their satisfaction over the arrangements made in the college.
(With PTI inputs)