Parents get exam jitters, too


Examination hall: SMK Agama Lati staff double-checking SPM candidate slips in Pasir Mas, Kelantan. — Bernama

GEORGE TOWN: Before the pandemic, it was mostly about getting the As.

Now, parents of the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) candidates are dreading that along with the As, is the possibility that their children may contract Covid-19.

Voicing his concerns over the current situation is T.C. Beh who said:

“What will happen if one of the students comes down with Covid-19 during the examination?

“The rest of the students at the same examination hall would then be considered close or casual contacts, and would be required to be quarantined at home.

“What will happen then? Can they resit the papers at a later date?” he said.

According to the standard operating procedure (SOP) for SPM candidates, the school administrators should contact the district Health Office (PKD) for advice and further action should school-based students show symptoms.

The school must also inform the students’ parents or guardians. The candidates also need to be placed in special examination rooms and don face masks.

The chief invigilator must ensure the candidates have no contact with any other students or school staff until the PKD officer arrives at the examination centre.

If the officer allows the candidates who show symptoms to sit for the examination, the chief invigilator must ensure the examination invigilators are provided with face masks, disposable gloves and hand sanitisers.

Tables must be arranged in such a way that each table is at least 2m from the adjacent ones.

The candidates’ answer slips must be placed in transparent envelopes provided. A disinfection process is carried out before packing.

The special examination rooms must be disinfected at the end of the examination session on a daily basis.

Annie Choong, 50, said she was worried for her daughter, Erin, who is sitting for her SPM that begins today.

“What happens if a student gets Covid-19, or is flagged as a close contact during exam days?

“Will the student be prevented from taking the exam? What are the contingency plans and options for the students to take the exam on another day?” she said, adding that her daughter will be tested on 10 subjects.

Choong will prepare meals from home for her daughter to take to school.

“She has stopped eating canteen food ever since the school implemented the no dine-in SOP at the canteen.

“Attendance in school has been low lately because many students prefer to study at home to prepare for SPM,” she said.

Victor Tan, 55, has always reminded his son to be extra careful.

“My son and his friends have been going to school for a few months already.

“I always advise him to strictly follow the SOP as I don’t want him to catch the virus, especially during the exam period.

“My son also does not want to be infected and miss the exam. He will be taking nine subjects for SPM.

“If they are unable to take the exam in March due to Covid-19, then there will be a special sitting in April for students to retake the exam.

“Although I am worried about his health, I understand that he can complete his SPM as soon as possible as it has been dragging on for quite some time,” said the business owner.

St Xavier’s Institution principal Goh Hong Peng said the school was ready for exam students, with all arrangements compliant with Education Ministry requirements.

A total of 407,097 candidates will be sitting for the written SPM 2021 examination from today to March 29 under the watch of 50,514 invigilators at 3,382 examination centres nationwide.

The examination timetable is available at www.lp.moe.gov.my.

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