22 Sep 2020

NCEA exams could go ahead even under level 3, ministry confirms

12:45 pm on 22 September 2020

NCEA and Scholarship exams can proceed even at alert level 3, the Ministry of Education has confirmed.

Auckland high school students. file image.

The exception to holding exams at level 3 would be if a school was involved in an outbreak of cluster of Covid-19 cases. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

The ministry has told schools the end-of-year exams can be held at levels 1 to 3, but not level 4.

Principals had previously told RNZ they were worried that a level 3 lockdown would prevent some or all schools from holding the exams scheduled to begin in November.

"Principals will always welcome some certainty around these things," Post Primary Teachers' Association Principals' Council chairperson James Morris said.

He said it was good to know what the rules were.

"By and large principals are really keen, and schools are really keen to have their students there and in exams and having those working as normal as possible."

Secondary Principals' Association president Deidre Shea said principals would generally support the decision to allow exams at level 3.

She said the challenge would be the logistics of complying with the level 3 rules.

The ministry's information said schools holding exams during alert level 3 must check students for symptoms as they arrived and ensure candidates were seated at least 1.5m apart.

Schools would also have to disinfect surfaces such as door handles and desks, and ensure students kept at least 1m apart as they arrived and waited to enter an exam room.

However, it said face masks were not required in an exam at alert level 3.

It said at any alert level schools could not hold exams if they were involved in an outbreak or cluster of Covid-19 cases and students could not attend exams if they were unwell or were a close contact of a confirmed case.

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