The tests are so important that, in normal years, the country takes extreme measures to support students – office hours are changed to keep students from getting stuck in traffic and the sound of an aircraft engine interrupting the English Flights are rescheduled to stop. Listening test
But this year, an even bigger plan is needed, as South Korea attempts to conduct the exam keeping teenagers safe from coronovirus. Students must check their temperature before entering the testing facilities and will be required to wear masks throughout the examination.
Even quarantine testing was arranged for 3,775 students, and for 35 students who had tested positive for Kovid-19 by Tuesday to take the exam from the hospital bed.
The exam helps decide whether students will make it to the most prestigious colleges and what career path they can take – some options, such as medicine, will be turned off to students who do not receive high-enough scores.
“Every citizen considers the exam a major national event,” Education Minister Yun-heun told CNN in an exclusive interview before the test.
South Korea has been relatively successful in controlling its Kovid-19 outbreak, with more than 35,000 cases and 529 deaths.
But as students prepare for the biggest exams of their high-school careers, the country is hit by a third wave of cases, especially in metropolitan Seoul, where half of the country’s population lives. A week before the exam, UO ordered high schools across the country to close and switch to online classes.
What is it like to have an exam during coronovirus
That South Korea can conduct its college placement test remarkably – and is down to careful planning by the authorities.
But this is rarely the test season in South Korea.
Typically, nervous parents make their children happy when they enter exam centers, but this year, Seoul officials asked parents to refrain from cheering or waiting outside the school gate on exam day. Anyone who showed signs of the disease was ordered to sit for the test in a separate room, where the invaders wore full hemat suits.
Students were separated by dividers with seating in their tests, and the government established ventilation guidelines for exam rooms. Students were prevented from using the cafeteria or waiting hall to reduce contact.
Public health clinics conducted tests at 10 a.m. the day before the exam to encourage students to make a diagnosis if they had symptoms. Kovid tests were preferred for students. A high school teacher in Daejeon, a city south of Seoul, tested positive at around 9.30pm on Wednesday night. After their close contact tested positive, dozens of examiners were substituted for reserved staff.
For students taking the exam, those measures made the already difficult exam more stressful. Seoul student Hwang Yoon-ja, who was taking the exam for the second time after graduating a year earlier, said he was studying for about 15 hours on weekdays, which included months.
“I’m (this year) more worried because we need to take the exam in a worse situation,” he said. “We need to wear masks, and there is a plastic divider on the desk.”
what’s the risk?
Authorities are taking additional measures for one simple reason: they are desperate to prevent an outbreak related to the exam.
According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, unlike previous outbreaks, the third wave is spreading to young people. And after Thursday’s exams, some students will travel around the country to sit additional exams conducted by colleges.
“While we were fully prepared, I am afraid of the rare scenario where an unspecified patient is found among the test takers and a community dissemination begins,” said Education Minister Yu. “We are doing all we can to prevent such a scenario.”
But for the people, the risk was too great.
In recent weeks, some 6,000 people signed an online petition for the exam, which was postponed for two weeks. The petition said that now conducting the exam is “like throwing students into a fire pit” and questioned whether schooling is more important than children’s health.
In online communities where high school seniors share exam tips, many students said they were concerned that they might be forced to quarantine if they caught Kovid during the exam, meaning they would be out next week Additional colleges may miss exams.
But President Moon Jae-in’s government believed that the examination should go ahead.
Although Na Yong-seo, a high school senior student in the satellite city outside Seoul, said she would find it difficult to put on masks to wear and large dividers on her desk, she was more concerned about the uncertainty brought by the epidemic . , The examination has already been pushed back once.
“To be honest, I would like to finish the exam as soon as possible. Of course, it would be dangerous,” she said. “The constant delay and the following endless study will be very difficult for me. I want it to end soon.”
Despite the risk of Covid-19, Seoul student Hwang said he was not worried about being infected.
“I think any student would be more concerned about getting a bad result in the exam than catching Kovid,” he said.
CNN’s Gavon Bey, Son So-mi and Joh Yun-ji from Seoul contributed reporting.