How are we supposed to travel? Students on final-year exams

Mumbai: It's not just about holding examinations, but about allowing students on local trains, re-opening colleges and universities currently being used as temporary quarantine centres for Covid-19 patients. Naturally, students are on the edge because along with health risks, students have raised issues about transport and infrastructure facilities that will need to be restarted amidst the pandemic if the state aims to conduct final-year exams anytime soon.

"How are we supposed to travel from our homes to exam centres?" asked Madhusudan Singh Rai, a final-year student of accounting and finance. Rai said, "I have returned to my native place in Ranchi, Jharkhand. I do not want to return to Mumbai, especially when there are a high number of coronavirus cases. But I think I have no choice because I can either not return and lose an entire academic year, or risk travelling. Also, how am I supposed to commute to the exam centre when students are not permitted on local trains in Mumbai?"

Majority of college and university students solely depend on local trains for their daily commute. Urjita Iyer, a final-year literature student, said, "It is not possible for me to travel by road from Vasai, which is at one end of Mumbai, to Churchgate on the other end. I need to commute by train because that is my only option. But on the other hand, we will be at severe risk as the chances of catching the virus are high, if we travel by local trains."

"How will we be protected outside exam centres?" questioned Alyza Noronha, a final-year economics student. Noronha said, "The state will implement safety measures and provide sanitisation facilities inside exam centres. But what about before and after the exam, outside centres? We can take individual measures to maintain distancing but, we will still be at risk."

Many universities and college buildings are being used as temporary Covid-19 quarantine facilities. Yash Gupta, a final-year engineering student, said, "It is dreadful to even imagine that we will have to appear for exams in facilities used as quarantine centres. Cities like Mumbai and Pune do not have enough space to accommodate large number of students. These quarantine facilities will have to be used for examinations.

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