I was very shocked to find out that my college is conducting exams offline on November 17. I had already contracted latent Tuberculosis last year this time, and since my body cannot afford one more disease, I have decided not to appear for these exams.
If I choose to take a chance and go for the exams, since I am not a local in the state, I also have no guarantee for my safety or shelter. I would like to raise the following points on why this decision is not wise:
1. I am sure that the college will be following all safety measures in the premises, but what will happen when the students go outside? Keep in mind that these are students who have not seen their friends in a long time, they will definitely want to go out, and who will stop them? It’s not like the government has implemented any measures to prevent this.
Some students are also smokers, who will definitely smoke outdoors with no mask on, placing themselves, and the students and professors they meet the next day at an increased risk (please also note that the exam season is a time of increased stress, which means increased smoking.
Many students living in PGs, hostels or even apartments would definitely start eating out- again a point of increased risk.
Some PGs have closed completely, because of which students have to find new accommodations during the exam season.
2. The college is conducting these exams because it does not want to risk the validity of its student’s degree. But it must be noted that exams have been conducted in earlier months for the batch that has recently passed out, some of whom have got into very reputed institutions and have begun their online classes already.
My college has a good reputation, but such a decision could quite possibly put this impression in danger. There are already news reports regarding this decision on two different news sources, though there has been no follow up or comment.
3. We are a college that prides itself on the empowerment of the poor. Many students and faculty may not be able to afford the treatment for the Virus, in the unfortunate event of contracting the virus. There is no insurance against this.
4. There are many faculty members who are aged, these are also some of the best faculty of the college. They are at an increased risk, especially if exposed to careless students and staff.
5. There is no specified date for the exams at a later date. This is adding to the stress of students. They don’t deserve to sit and write extra exams at later dates just because they were not privileged enough. Not to mention, those who are writing the exam will be distracted immediately in the exam halls- either because they want to cough but can’t, or because they heard someone else cough- the fear of the unknown.
I wish that my college would continue with the online mode until a vaccine was found. This is a global pandemic, the decisions made today will come at a great cost, we must be kind and sensitive to each other’s concerns. Educational institutions especially must place students and faculties health at top priority.