DBE: Pupils who test positive for COVID-19 can still write exams
Going back on its previous which prohibited pupils with COVID-19 from entering exam venues, DBE now says candidates who test positive and are deemed fit, will be allowed to write at a different venue and under secure conditions.
CAPE TOWN/DURBAN – The Basic Education department on Thursday said pupils who tested positive for COVID-19 would be allowed to write the final matric examinations.
Previously, the department issued a set of guidelines indicating pupils who tested positive for the virus would not be allowed to enter the exam centre.
Now, candidates who test positive and are deemed fit, will be allowed to write at a different venue and under secure conditions.
The department’s Elijah Mhlanga said: “This arrangement will ensure that those learners who were previously informed that they would not be able to write exams can now do so. The department of health says it will help the department of education with exam management, especially for those individuals that are affected.”
The department added that pupils who were screened at the entrance of the examination venue and displayed a temperature higher than 38 °C would be allowed to write in an isolated venue at the school.
Meanwhile, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and the National Professional Teacher's Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) said they didn't want pupils who have tested positive for COVID-19 to write their examinations at their respective schools.
The basic education department insisted, however, that pupils who were infected with the coronavirus would write their examinations at an isolation venue within their schools following guidance from the health department.
Union leaders said they had requested an urgent meeting with Minister Angie Motshekga to discuss this decision, as they believed it may lead to the spread of the virus.
Sadtu and Naptosa say while they acknowledge the right of every pupil to write their examination – the health and safety of others – including educators – can’t be compromised.
They claim that the basic education department has once again taken a decision without consulting them.
Sadtu Secretary-General Mugwena Maluleke said: “The issue is that the protocol was saying that any person that shows any symptoms is not to be allowed on the school grounds. So, how do you change that without consultation? Who is going to invigilate that particular learner, because teachers are not trained to invigilate under those circumstances.”
The two unions said the education department should find venues for infected pupils outside the school.
They called on their members to report to them if they were made to come into contact with an infected pupil.