Covid-19: Western Cape matric pupils who test positive won't be allowed on school premises

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  • The Western Cape Education department says that it will not force a school to allow a Covid-19 positive pupil to write their exams.
  • The department claims that the Basic Education Department did not consult it about the changes.
  • Allowing those who are Covid-19 positive to write their exams will also place pupils, teachers, and staff at risk, says the department.

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) will not allow pupils who have tested positive for Covid-19 to write their final National Senior Certificate exams (NSC), because there are no isolation centres designated for the pupils.

It said the Department of Basic Education (DBE) did not consult with it and the provincial health department regarding Covid-19 positive candidates writing the NSC in an "isolation centre".

"The new announcement by [the] DBE indicates that a positive candidate should write at an 'isolation centre' managed by the Department of Health out of school grounds", WCED spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said.

"However, no such 'isolation centre' exists in the Western Cape, as there was no agreement or arrangements made in this regard with the WCED or the Provincial Department of Health", she added.

On Wednesday, the DBE announced that pupils who test positive for Covid-19 will be allowed to continue with their NSC exams.

READ | Matric 2020: Pupils deemed fit after testing positive for Covid-19 allowed to write exams, says DBE

The provincial department said that no protocol has been issued by DBE on how to manage this. 

Hammond said that it still remains unclear as to the process involved in terms of invigilation, the handling of the papers, and the security involved to protect the integrity of these examinations.

On Monday, 69 699 pupils sat down to write their first examination paper in the Western Cape Province. They kicked off their exam with an English paper.

The department said that administration of the first day of the NSC examinations had gone well.

Hammond said that there were no major hiccups or disruptions, however a few Senior Certificate/part-time candidates arrived at the wrong exam venue, but were assisted accordingly.

Even though the department recorded zero Covid-19 cases on Thursday, it will not be allowing Covid-19 positive pupils on to school premises after the Provincial Department of Health indicated that they cannot assist them.

"The WCED cannot force a school to allow anyone onto a school premises that is Covid-19 positive", said Hammond.

"It will also place the learners, educators, and staff at risk", she added.   

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