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Fear of contracting COVID-19 grips Athlone learners ahead of matric exams

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Some matric learners at Spes Bona High School in Athlone on the Cape Flats say the fear of contracting the coronavirus has increased the pressure they feel as they make final preparations for their exams.

The class of 2020 will start their matric exams in earnest on Thursday.

Over 95 000 learners will write their National Senior Certificate examinations in the Western Cape.

This year’s matric class will make history by writing their finals in the midst of a global pandemic.

A learner at Spes Bona High School says: “It’s been a roller coaster, to say the least, but we are coping. It’s been difficult, I won’t lie. Our marks have downgraded a lot, but ja, God’s in control.”

Another learner says: “Most of the matriculcants here feel pressured into passing and we can’t really focus on passing if we have to come to school fearful of getting sick or something.”

COVID-19 guidelines for matric learners

The Department of Basic Education has issued the following COVID-19 guidelines for matric learners:

Schools do not administer COVID-19 tests; therefore learners need to test at local clinics and pharmacies

Learners have a responsibility to report any symptoms to school authorities and failure to do so will result in serious consequences, and

Learners who are unable to complete their exams due to a COVID-19 diagnosis will be granted a chance to do so in May or June 2021.

All systems go for exams

The Department of Basic Education says it is ready and on track for the 2020 matric exams.

Over one million South African learners will sit down to write their Grade 12 finals.

The department has had to combine the June and November exams, given the coronavirus and subsequent lockdown.

They say that despite the pandemic, learners will write under the most conducive conditions possible, as Basic Education Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga explains:



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