The National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) said it was cautiously optimistic that educators would no longer feel pressured or forced and bullied into going to matric exam centres where they could possibly be exposed to the coronavirus.
Last week, the Basic Education Department announced that pupils who had contracted COVID-19 would be allowed to write the national senior certificate exams, but that it would take place at separate venues. Unions, Sadtu (South African Democratic Teachers Union) and Naptosa, voiced their concerns including that the health and safety of its members could be at risk.
On Monday, the department of education issued a circular with revised protocols to assist schools to manage possible cases during exams. Naptosa’s Basil Manuel said that teachers should not feel compelled to invigilate matriculants who had contracted the coronavirus but could do so voluntarily. “Teachers are not trained to invigilate COVID-positive children, they don’t have the necessary PPE.”
The Basic Education Department and the unions agreed that while no pupil should be denied an opportunity to write their final exams, the health and safety of educators should not be compromised. The department’s Elijah Mhlanga said: “We are flexible in that way but we are also prepared by appointing private invigilators who have since been taken through the basic required.”
Parents whose children had contracted the virus were being urged to immediately contact the school principal so that the correct protocols could be put in place before infecting other students.