Pupils who test Covid-19 positive will be allowed to continue writing their final NSC examinations, the Department of Basic Education has said.
This, after the department came to an agreement with the Department of Health on Wednesday.
Initially, guidelines issued by the department stipulated that pupils who tested positive would not be allowed to write.
The department said it received representations from parents and pupils who requested government to review the protocols.
The health and education departments then agreed that candidates who tested positive, and were deemed fit to write the examination, would be allowed to continue writing, but in isolation with secure conditions, in compliance with examination regulations.
The departments would work jointly to ensure that candidates confirmed to be positive were given an opportunity to sit for the exams, while ensuring that safety was observed.
Speaking at Sekano-Ntoana Secondary School in Soweto on Thursday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the health department would step in as soon as there was an identified case.
She said the agreement came as a relief as those pupils who would not have written due to testing positive, would only have had a chance to write next June – meaning 2020 would have been wasted for them. “As soon as we identify a learner with high temperature, we communicate with the Department of Health, then they take over,” Motshekga said.
She said screening protocols and standard, normal procedure would still be in place as exams continued.
The department previously also announced that candidates who had temperatures of 38°C and above would be allowed to write in isolation venues.
Motshekga cautioned that the concessions did not, however, mean that people should now be complacent in terms of the safety measures aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19.