No provisions have been made by the state government to administer vaccination against Covid-19 for teachers and non-teaching staff involved in the Class 10 Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Class 12 Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) board offline examinations, principals and teachers said. While ironically, on the other hand, as per the new guidelines issued by the Maharashtra government on April 4, 2021, all staff that may be used for conduct of exams must be either vaccinated or should carry a negative RT-PCR certificate, valid for 48 hours.
Teachers involved in the supervision of SSC and HSC board theory examinations said it is quite ironic to see the state government issuing guidelines making it mandatory for all exam staff to be vaccinated or tested for Covid-19 but on the other hand, the state has made no provisions for the same.
Rajesh Pandya, a senior teacher and vice-president of Teachers Democratic Front (TDF), said, "How is the state issuing guidelines that all exam staff should be vaccinated when the first dose of Covid-19 vaccination has not been administered to teachers and exam staff? There has to be a gap of at least 28 days between the first and second dose but now, there are less than 25 days left for the start of SSC and HSC board theory examinations."
Principals of state-board schools said the state government has not provided vaccination for exam staff despite repeated demands. Latha Venkat, Principal of KGS Sarvodaya Balika Vidyalaya, Malad (west) said, "There has been no special Covid-19 vaccination drive for teachers and exam staff. The majority of our school teachers took the vaccination on their own, some even paid for it on their own at private hospitals, when the drive began for those above 45 years."
In addition, teachers said if they have to carry a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR certificate which is valid only for 48 hours, they will have to do the test every two days during the exam period. Jagdish Kulkarni, a SSC board teacher said, "If the RT-PCR test result is valid only for 48 hours, we will have to take the test every two days. This means we will have to take the test multiple times as HSC board theory exams are scheduled from April 23 to May 21 and SSC board exams from April 29 to May 20, 2021."