Aussie students tackle final school exams under strict COVID-19 conditions – World –

SYDNEY – Roughly 70,000 students in the Australian State of New South Wales (NSW) commenced their Higher School Certificate (HSC) examinations under strict COVID-19 regulations on Tuesday.

All school leavers in the state have been required to sit the exam, which represents the culmination of 13 years of schooling and is notoriously high-pressure.

Despite this year witnessing disruptions and a level of uncertainty like no other, students were still required to give the exams their best effort — although education authorities said they would take into account those with special circumstances.

Exam rooms were regularly cleaned and a limit of 75 students per room was in place, with students also asked to confirm that they were not suffering any flu-like symptoms before they entered.

A special illness and misadventure provision was also put in place for students who experienced a COVID-related event at the time of an exam.

While wrapping up the exams is traditionally a time of celebration, in 2020 the usual revelry of graduations, formals and post-school trips were all either postponed, conducted virtually or cancelled.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who completed her HSC more than 30 years ago, described the class of 2020 as a "special year" as she reflected on her own HSC.

"I was anxious, I was stressed, I wanted to do well, but I now know looking back I put too much pressure on myself," Berejiklian said.

"I know many of you will now be in that same situation but living through COVID-19 and the challenges you’ve been through has made you more resilient."

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