Since the beginning of the first term, different schools across the country have been recording alarming numbers of the coronavirus (COVID-19) infections, to a point that teacher unions have expressed concern.
The alarming speed at which COVID-19 is spreading in schools has led to the teacher unions calling for government to close schools, temporarily, to prepare for eventualities, where schools start recording high numbers of infections, as is the case now.
There were reports of some schools not handling contact tracing and isolation very well in the last two weeks, which is one of the signs that schools are not ready to deal with scenarios where there is a rise in COVID-19 cases. Anyone who has come across school children (especially at primary level and junior secondary level) walking home from school, will attest to the fact that these are some of the groups that do not strictly adhere to COVID-19 protocols. They walk home in close proximity, with their masks pulled down to chin level, hence the need for the education ministry to engage stakeholders and come up with strategies on how they are going to deal with the increasing infection rate in schools. Some schools have seen a spike in COVID-19 cases, registering over 300 infections in very little time, which has forced the government to dispatch the Botswana Defence Force personnel to enforce COVID-19 regulations. Some people argue that closing schools is not a solution, in that even when schools are closed, school-going children will continue to meet on the streets and play together. Well, while that may be true for some children, there are others who are kept under strict observation by their parents, and they (children) have to seek permission before they can go anywhere. The issue of children playing together on the streets when schools are closed, is one tiny problem, which can be managed very easily. It is the duty of parents to ensure that their children during this time that government is trying hard to fight the spread of this deadly virus, they also play their part, by ensuring that they restrict their children's movements. Apart from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is irresponsible for parents to allow their children to roam around the streets, without knowing their whereabouts. The world we live in today has changed, apart from this deadly virus that is terrorising the world, there are many other dangers out there. Let's play a part as parents and ensure that we assist government in the fight against this monster called the coronavirus. Hopefully, the Ministry of Basic Education, will heed the call by the teacher's unions to temporarily close schools. Some schools don't even bother to fumigate/disinfect the premises after cases of COVID-19 have been reported at the school. Let's protect students, and schools, by temporarily closing schools to come up with better ways of dealing with the spread of the virus in schools.