NAPTOSA and the other recognised trade unions in the education sector were completely taken by surprise by the announcement last night that the DBE and the Department of Health had reached an agreement that would allow learners who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus to write the matric examination because we had not been consulted on the matter.
This action by the Department has prompted NAPTOSA to address an urgent letter to the Minister to convey our disappointment that a decision of this significance and impact upon our members could be taken without our knowledge and input.
We also informed the Minister that while we acknowledge the right of all learners to sit for an examination, we will not have the health and safety of our members compromised and that if teachers are expected to be responsible for the invigilation of such learners, NAPTOSA will support and defend members who do not see their way clear to do so, because we believe any such instruction will be both unlawful and unreasonable.
Because this was an agreement reached with the Department of Health, we furthermore informed the Minister that we expect-
- the invigilation responsibility for the learners who have tested positive, to fall on the shoulders of members of that Department; and
- that all learners who have tested positive should report to the Department of Health and NOT the school where the health and safety of learners and teachers could be compromised.
We have requested an urgent meeting with the Minister to address this matter.
Should any member be requested to be involved in the invigilation of the examination of a learner who has tested positive for the virus, you are requested to immediately inform your provincial office for advice and guidance.