While matric pupils who contract Covid-19 will be allowed to write examinations, they will not sit anywhere near the regular examination centres.
Initially, guidelines issued by the Department of Basic Education stipulated that pupils who tested positive for Covid-19, would not be allowed to write exams at all.
However, after consultations with parents, unions and pupils, the department reviewed the guidelines.
Pupils who tested positive for the virus and deemed fit to write, would write in isolation in one of a clinic, a room in a hospital, a community hall, a church hall or any other venue conducive to writing an examination.
The new guidelines were listed in a DBE circular with revised protocols on writing examinations.
The circular was sent to all schools across the country.
The circular contained stringent steps to be taken by invigilators, education officials and health officials to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 during the examination period.
The invigilation at the isolation venues would be carried out by a health official, an educator, examination official or a private invigilator.
At the isolation venue, there will be strict compliance with the requirements of social distancing, the wearing of a face mask and hand sanitising.
The social distancing at an isolation venue can be extended beyond the 1.5 metre requirement, given the limited number of candidates that may be located at an isolation venue at any given time.
“Candidates that are in the company of an infected person are not expected to test if they are positive. Rather they are required to be in quarantine for ten days and if they are asymptomatic after the ten day period, they are regarded as being infection free and must be allowed to write the examination at the regular allocated examination venue,” an extract from the circular read.
The script of a positive candidate must be inserted by the candidate, in the presence of the invigilator, into the plastic security bag and sealed by the candidate.
The security bag would then be sanitised by the candidate and dropped into a box made available for this purpose.
The security bag would then be placed into a second security bag and transferred to the examination official who would be at the isolation venue to exercise oversight over the process, but would not be involved in the invigilation process.
At the regular examination venue, a candidate whose temperature is consistently above 38 °C after the regular 10-minute checks in the first 30 minutes and/or answers “yes” to two or more of the questions on the screening questionnaire, would be taken to the isolation room at the centre for the candidate to sit for the examination.
The examination may be conducted in the isolation room for candidates that present a temperature above 38°C and deemed able to sit for the examination.
The isolation area may also be an open, well-defined and visible space such as a veranda, corridor/passage, provided it is isolated and has no access to other persons.