Key check: South Koreans sit college examination amid COVID-19 surge

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Practically 500,000 highschool college students are sitting the check with stringent measures imposed to curb the virus.

South Korea fell quiet on Thursday as a whole lot of 1000’s of scholars sat for the nation’s high-stakes nationwide college entrance examination amid a surge in coronavirus circumstances that has prompted new measures to curb its unfold, together with for candidates sitting the check.

Youngsters spend years getting ready for the examination, which may imply a spot in one of many elite faculties which can be seen as key to future careers, incomes and even marriage prospects.

This 12 months, the coronavirus pandemic has added to the stress – delaying and disrupting the college 12 months and at instances forcing all lessons on-line.

On the elite Ewha Women’ International Language Excessive Faculty many college students arrived on their very own or with their test-taking associates and a few dad and mom appeared extra nervous than their youngsters. Tightened curbs following a wave of latest circumstances meant college students have been banned from cheering on their classmates on the faculty gates as they arrived for the examination.

“I’m really fairly relieved now that it’s all going to be over quickly,” mentioned 18-year-old Kim Chae-eun.

“This examination is necessary as a result of Korean society makes you research your complete life up until this level for this one examination.”

Solely dad and mom have been on the faculty gates as a result of college students have been banned from cheering on their classmates due to coronavirus restrictions [Jung Yeon-je/AFP]
The annual Faculty Scholastic Means Take a look at, is a high-pressure standardised entrance examination, that may set the course for younger South Koreans’ future careers [Jung Yeon-je/AFP]

South Korea introduced its outbreak below management earlier within the 12 months with an efficient system of  “hint, check and deal with”, however in latest weeks new circumstances have surged once more.

On Thursday, the Korea Illness Management and Prevention Company (KDCA) introduced 540 new circumstances, bringing the nation’s complete caseload to 35,703, and the authorities have warned measures may must be tightened additional if circumstances are usually not introduced below management this week.

The nation operates a five-tier social-distancing system and better Seoul – residence to roughly half the nation’s inhabitants – was placed on Degree 2 on November 24 as circumstances started to rise.

The examination itself is a specific concern, with practically 500,000 pupils gathering in check centres throughout the nation.

College students have been checked on arrival and people exhibiting temperatures of 37.5 Celsius (99.5 Fahrenheit) or larger – or different coronavirus signs – needed to take the check in a separate, designated space.

Plastic see-through dividers have been arrange on every desk and college students have been required to put on masks all through the check.

All candidates have been suggested to chorus from gathering and speaking throughout breaks, with examination rooms to be ventilated after every session.

Quiet, please

The examination itself was delayed for 2 weeks because of the earlier disruptions to educating, as all excessive faculties throughout the nation returned to on-line lessons for every week to try to forestall faculty clusters.

“It will likely be much more tough and worrisome to take the examination within the coronavirus state of affairs,” President Moon Jae-in wrote in luck message posted on social media. “I’d prefer to put heat scarves round your necks.”

South Korea pulls out all of the stops to make sure the check takers are usually not disturbed.

Worshippers supply prayers for kin and family members on the eve of the annual faculty entrance exams, on the Jogye Buddhist temple in Seoul. The nation has pulled out all of the stops for the high-stakes check [Ed JONES/AFP]

Authorities workplaces, companies and even Seoul’s inventory market opened an hour later than typical to scale back site visitors and assist the scholars arrive on time, and police escorts have been accessible for any working late – nobody is allowed into the examination room as soon as the check has begun.

As well as, all flights at South Korean airports are suspended for 35 minutes throughout an English listening check, whereas all plane already within the air should keep an altitude larger than three kilometres (9,843 ft).

The transport ministry mentioned 89 flights have been rescheduled because of the examination, together with 10 worldwide routes.

And there have been no concessions for the contaminated: the federal government mentioned 35 college students who’ve the virus have been because of take the check concurrently their classmates, at hospitals or quarantine centres and supervised by schooling officers in full private protecting gear.

A authorities demonstration video confirmed all the things they used – from pencils to the title tag figuring out their desk – could be disposed of as a biohazard afterwards.