Education dept commits to accommodating COVID-19 positive matriculants

Following the announcement on Wednesday evening, teacher unions raised concern over accommodating COVID-19 positive students.

FILE: Matric pupils writing exams. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Basic Education Department on Friday said provinces have committed to assisting COVID-19 positive matriculants who were now being allowed to write exams.

The department met with Education MECs on Thursday.

Following the announcement on Wednesday evening, teacher unions raised concern; and the Western Cape Education Department indicated it was caught by surprise.

Basic Education's Elijah Mhlanga said the matter had now been discussed and each province was going to take on the responsibility to ensure correct protocols were in place.

He says on Thursday, five provinces had matriculants with COVID-19.

“Provinces are managing these matters and they’ve found a way to assist those learners with the virus.”

However, the National Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) executive director Basil Manuel questioned where the isolation venues were located, and asked what happened if the learners were taking public transport and also wanted to know who would be invigilating.

“This is not a lawful instruction. For it to be lawful and reasonable it must be within the bounds of your job and it can’t endanger you. Even the number of teachers who have comorbidities – of course this will endanger them.”

Without being specific, Mhlanga said they had found creative ways... “They write in isolation. Invigilation is done creatively. Safety is paramount.”

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