High-school seniors take an academic evaluation test at a school in Daejeon on Oct. 12, 2021. (Yonhap)
Students infected with COVID-19 or in self-quarantine for possible coronavirus exposure will be assigned to separate testing sites for next month's state-administered college entrance exam to ensure a safe test environment, the education ministry said Tuesday.
About 509,800 high school seniors and graduates are set to take this year's College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) slated for Nov. 18. It marks the second year the college entrance exam will be held against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the education ministry's exam guidelines reported to a Cabinet meeting, students infected with COVID-19 will take the test at designated hospitals or government care centers, while those in quarantine will also be assigned to separate testing sites.
The ministry has designated a total of 198 hospital beds at 31 hospitals nationwide and two other government facilities to accommodate exam takers infected with the virus while setting up 676 test rooms in 112 different sites across the country to be able to accommodate up to nearly 3,000 students under self-quarantine.
Last year, 41 students infected with COVID-19 and 456 others under self-quarantine took the annual exam at separately designated test sites.
The ministry has also set aside a portion of the general exam rooms for ordinary students to accommodate those who show symptoms of COVID-19 on the examination day.
In the week up until the test day, all high-school classes will be conducted online to disinfect classrooms and avert any cluster infections at school.
The ministry will also run a special two-week disease prevention period till Nov. 17 to inspect the hygiene conditions at some 320 cram schools and study cafes.
The ministry will request government institutions and private companies delay the start of their office hours to 10 a.m. to prevent traffic congestion in the morning of the test day.
Take-off and landing by airplanes as well as noisy military exercises will also be prohibited for 25 minutes till 1:35 p.m. on the exam day when students will be taking an English listening skill test.
"The ministry will do its utmost to ensure a safe test environment, including preemptive vaccination and the establishment of proper test environments catering to different types of exam takers," Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae said. (Yonhap)