CSATs will go on with or without Covid-19
In its latest set of guidelines for the upcoming College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT), scheduled for Dec. 3, the Ministry of Education vowed Tuesday that all students would be able to put themselves through the ordeal, but will be divided into three key categories: healthy test-takers, those in self-quarantine and Covid-19 patients.
Some 480,000 people are expected to take this year’s CSAT at some 1,185 testing sites, said the ministry.
Covid-19 students will be able to take the standardized test wherever they are on Dec. 3 — either at a hospital, in case they are in serious condition, or a government-run treatment facility, in case they have mild symptoms.
Those in self-quarantine will take the test at a designated site “separated” from ordinary testing sites, the Ministry of Education said in a statement. It was not immediately clear whether each student in this category will be placed in separate rooms.
The ministry said it would discuss the matter with the Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation (KICE), the organizer of the eight-hour CSAT marathon known here as suneung, which students spend their whole school careers preparing for.
Ordinary test-takers with no exposure to the coronavirus will take the CSAT at standard testing sites, though desks will be spaced out from one another to fit 24 in each classroom, down from 28 compared to last year.
Each test-taker will have their temperatures checked before entering the testing site, and those with mild fevers will either be guided to an isolated area inside the testing site premises or outside the premises, depending on the severity, the Education Ministry said.
All students and supervisors will have to wear face masks during the test, and plastic dividers will be placed on each desk to prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus.
More details on the CSAT will be disclosed from late September to early October after consultations with local government offices and health authorities, the Education Ministry said.
Other written tests, essay exams and interviews that universities hold around the time of the CSAT will be up to those schools to decide, though the ministry will be offering some guidelines.
Universities Tuesday were recommended not to allow Covid-19-positive applicants take their tests or show up for an interview unless they are held remotely online. For applicants in self-quarantine, schools were advised to set up a testing site in each major city for those students so they don’t have to mingle with other normal students showing up on campuses.
Parents were told not to accompany their kids anywhere.
The Education Ministry’s guidelines came as health officials announced 34 people were diagnosed with the coronavirus nationwide Monday, 21 of whom got infected after exposures in a foreign country: nine in the United States; two each in Uzbekistan, Russia and Mexico; and one each in Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and Senegal, according to data released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) Tuesday morning.
Among those who were locally infected, six live in Seoul, three in Gyeonggi and one each in Busan, Incheon, Gwangju and North Gyeongsang.
No patient died Monday, leaving the total death toll at 301. Seventy-two more people recovered, bringing total recoveries to 13,352.
Korea’s total number of Covid-19 patients reached 14,423 as of Monday at midnight.
BY LEE SUNG-EUN, NAM YOON-SEO [firstname.lastname@example.org]