Exams while corona restrictions are in force
The decision yesterday (29 October) to introduce further restrictions with respect to campus-based education and other operations has been well-received by students and co-workers. Everyone is genuinely willing to do their bit and help to reduce the spread of infection. Some questions have arisen, however, about whether it is appropriate to continue to hold written exams in an exam hall.
Is LiU going against the recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Sweden when it continues to hold written exams in exam halls on campus? This question dominated reactions after the decision taken on Thursday to introduce stricter restrictions as a consequence of the increase in the rate of infection. LiU has previously decided that it is the examiner who is to determine whether an exam is to be held using remote methods or on campus. In order to ensure the quality of the education, however, it is reasonable that certain exams must be conducted in physical form.
“Experiences from the digital-based mode we used in the spring, when nearly all exams were carried out in another form than in an exam hall, showed that the quality was compromised. For this reason we have worked hard to draw up regulations relating to how exams in an exam hall are to be carried out, ensuring as low a risk of infection as possible”, Margareta Bachrack Lindström, deputy vice-chancellor at Linköping University with responsibility for issues relating to undergraduate education, explains.
Exams in an exam hall are carried out following the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Sweden concerning distance between individuals and the number of people present in the hall. There is also a system to manage queues for those entering and leaving the halls, and keeping the students separated by the necessary distance.
“The most important measure to reduce the risk of infection, however, must be taken by the students themselves – they must not attend the exam if they feel sick. We take the concerns of students seriously, and I know that some may feel pressure to take an exam in order to, for example, avoid the risk of forfeiting their student financing. In this situation, however, health must take precedence”, says Margareta Bachrack Lindström.
The Infectious Diseases Unit of Region Östergötland is aware that some students have reacted to the way in which exams are being handled.
“We have mainly been able to link the spread of infection among students to parties. We cannot be certain that infection during exams in an exam hall has not happened, but if both the organiser and the participants follow the recommendations about maintaining sufficient distance, the risk is limited”, says infectious diseases physician Britt Åkerlind.
Translated by George Farrants
Last updated: 2020-11-12