Maharashtra MBBS Students Demand to Cancel or Postpone Exams Due to COVID-19

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Mubarak Ansari

Pune, 12th April 2021: About 450 trainee doctors (MBBS students) from various government medical colleges in Maharashtra state and 350 of their contacts have been infected with the Coronavirus disease (COVID19). Therefore, good health facilities should be provided to the trainee doctors and all the examinations of 2nd and 3rd year Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) starting on 19th April should be postponed.

The conversion of government medical colleges and their hospitals into Covid hospitals has caused infection among trainee doctors. Although the trainee doctor is not directly in the patient’s service, yet they constantly came into contact with the hospital and staying in the hostel without any preventive measures. Therefore, the students are getting infected with the coronavirus. Family members, relatives, and friends living in the same room who came in contact with them are also infected.

The trainee doctors are demanding that the exams should be postponed in such an environment or the option of online exams should be made available.

In a letter to MUHS, ASMI stated, “We are writing to you with our genuine concern about our examination of 2nd and 3rd professional year MBBS. Because of the rising number of COVID cases, for the safety and in favour of our students, MUHS has postponed exams thrice since January 1st week to February end, from February end to March-end and then to April and now when Covid-19 cases are at their peak recording daily of 60 thousand cases all over Maharashtra and many MBBS students themselves are testing positive, we are writing to you sir, that though exams may be conducted with all the precautions but how do students maintain the pandemic norms at their hostel is the big question. 

Following are the points of concern, 

1. Great numbers of students are testing positive for COVID-19. Many of them are hospitalised some are serious. 

2. Due to lack of clear idea about examination for students testing positive during this time, students due to the fear of supplementary examination are not testing despite showing mild symptoms, the chain is continuing all along with the medical hostel. 

3. Such students who are not testing due to the fear of failing to appear for exams delaying the medication are now having complications like pleural effusion and are battling in ICUs. 

4. Amidst this crisis it is impossible to follow norms at the hostel, because 

a) 3-4 students staying in one single room of hostel: failing to practice basic norms like social distancing. 

b) Sharing common toilet, bathroom, mess and library. 

5. Students travelling from other districts, state for examination could be carriers and if strict majors are not taken for their testing then how will be the provision of the re-exam for them. 

6. Also our reading rooms are closed and sealed, they being public places. 

7. Students at home white travelling can contract the virus and can spread to other students. 

8. All students are not vaccinated. Even vaccinated students are coming out to be COVID positive. 

With this rising number of COVID patients, medical students are no exception to it. We would like to clarify that

A) Students are not against the examination nor they fear it. 

B) Students are mainly fearing of contracting COVID-19 and spreading it to their friends and family during the examination.

Options proposed:-Solution 1: -MUHS can postpone the exam for now and can start the next semester posting and online teaching and can send all the students back home to break the spreading chain in the hostels and can conduct examination when the COVID cases are in decline phase informing students few days prior. 

2nd and 3rd-year exams not being the deciding exams for the MBBS course, students can be promoted to the next year, since there is vertical integration of all the concepts. for eg one who has to treat pneumonia needs to pathology microbiology and pharmacology in-depth, so there won’t be any gross gap of knowledge 

Solution 2: -Online exams with increased difficulty, strict invigilation and change in pattern can be made. It’s been conducted in other parts of the world.

The final deciding exam is the entrance exam of NMC (all India level) as proposed from batch 2017 so there is no question of ill practice and promoting the students. 

We request you to address our concerns at the earliest possible.”

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