In just a week, hundreds of thousands of college hopefuls in South Korea will be pouring into some 1,400 local testing centers to take the national college entrance exam, known as "Suneung".
And to lower the risk of any infections right before the biggest exam of their lives, high schools nationwide have shifted to remote learning.
"Focusing on just the exam is already an immense pressure. That students must also be extra careful not to get infected just doubles the burden."
That doesn't mean those infected can't take the test though.
Designated hospitals and treatment centers, 31 in total, will be available as test sites for those who've tested positive for the virus 66 people as of Tuesday.
Test-takers who are under self-quarantine, twelve as of Tuesday, can sit their exams at over a hundred isolation facilities across the country.
On exam day, much will be the same as last year .
Mandatory mask-wearing, temperature checks and the separation of those who show symptoms along with the ban on electronic devices.
"Unlike 2020, though, test takers won't have to sit through the whole exam behind acrylic shields. This year, there will just be paper dividers on the desks only during lunch break."
Leading up to next Thursday, most major cram schools in Seoul will be operating in-person but under strict rules, including regular PCR tests for staff members.
Some have even barred outside visitors for the time being.
Students, meanwhile, are keeping outdoor activities to a minimum.
"I hardly ever head out these days. I'm either at home or here studying. That's about it."
And they'll have to keep this lifestyle even after the exam because most essay tests administered by top universities won't be accepting infected applicants.
"Let's say a student tests positive one day and is barred from participating in the college essay exams. That's the end of their chance of being accepted early, regardless of how well they did on the Suneung."
The Education Ministry has been asking colleges for lenience but so far, schools have been sticking to their hardline stance.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.