The basic education department on Wednesday night announced that matric pupils who test positive for Covid-19 will be allowed to write their final exams.
This is an about-turn from previous guidelines issued by the department, which indicated that pupils with Covid-19 would not be allowed to enter exam centres.
The department said on Wednesday it had changed its guidelines after receiving representations from parents and pupils who had asked the government to review the protocols. The department said it had consulted the health department and considered the requests then deliberated on the practical implications.
“It was agreed that candidates who test positive and are deemed fit to write the examination will be allowed to write, albeit at a different venue and under secure conditions that comply with the examination regulations,” the statement read.
The departments committed to working together to ensure that candidates who have been confirmed to be Covid-19 positive are allowed to sit for the exams while ensuring that safety is observed.
“We welcome the intervention by the department of health given that a learner who tests positive becomes the responsibility of the department of health and no longer an education issue. The initial protocol of the department of basic education was widely consulted and endorsed by the department of health, but this change in the protocol is very helpful because it will allow all learners to write their examinations,” said basic education minister Angie Motshekga.
Motshekga has, however cautioned, that the concessions did not mean that people should now be complacent in terms of the safety measures aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19.
The education department said pupils who were screened at the entrance of the examination venue and displayed a temperature higher than 38°C would be allowed to write the examination in an isolation venue at the school.
The pupils will be immediately taken to the isolation venue and after the examination, they will not be allowed to socialise with other pupils but will be taken to a health centre for further medical attention.
The education department said it remained committed to ensuring that matric pupils were provided with the most conducive environment for the writing of this important examination.
By Belinda Pheto – TimesLIVE