CORONAVIRUS/More than 200,000 Taiwanese students don masks for entrance exams
Taipei, May 16 (CNA) More than 200,000 junior high school students in Taiwan began taking their two-day academic assessment examinations on Saturday, wearing surgical masks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as they sat for a series of major exams that could determine which high school they get into.
The Comprehensive Assessment Program for Junior High School Students, which is held Saturday and Sunday across the country, required approximately 210,000 students who are taking the exams to wear masks, have their temperatures checked and sanitize their hands before they can enter the test venues.
All students with a fever were separated from other students and sent to a backup testing ground.
As of noon, 12 students were found to have a fever and nine backup testing centers were opened for operation, said Ministry of Education official Hsu Li-chuan （許麗娟).
The exams were conducted with all windows and doors open and parents were barred from accompanying their children inside the examination venues.
The move was a way to limit the number of people at the locations to avoid overcrowding and the potential spread of the coronavirus, Education Minister Pan Wen-chung（潘文忠）said on Facebook.
Students who are undergoing home isolation or quarantine and unable to take their exams over the weekend are given the chance to make up their tests on May 30 and 31.
The students on Saturday have to take tests for social studies from 8:30 a.m. to 9:40 a.m., mathematics from 10:30 a.m. to 11:50 a.m., Chinese reading from 1:50 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Chinese composition from 3:50 p.m. to 4:40 p.m.
The English listening test, which is usually held on the second day of the exam, has been canceled this year due to considerations that having open windows and doors may create traffic or other noise that could affect how well the students perform on this test.
The exam this year will also include a slightly smaller range of topics due to the semester starting two weeks later than usual. All students in Taiwan got an extra two weeks off after the winter break, to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
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