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COVID-19 hits F/town schools

LESEDI MKHUTSHWA
Francistown Senior Secondary School students PIC: KEOGILE BONANG
FRANCISTOWN: The President of Botswana Sectors for Educators Trade Union (BOSETU), Winston Rradikolo has  expressed concern about the way the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) was handling cases of CoVID-19 in schools in the second city.

Rradikolo raised the concern after seven schools in the city registered 19 positive cases of the dreaded pandemic.

According to the BOSETU leader, the ministry should have taken a decision to close the affected schools in order to protect both the teachers and students from contracting COVID-19.

He said that at the moment there was no urgency on the part of the Ministry in handing cases of COVID-19 in schools around Francistown.

He said: “It has always being a norm that when schools register COVID-19 cases they are closed with immediate effect, but that is not the case with the Francistown schools. To my knowledge, it has been business as usual in all the affected seven schools”.

Rradikolo further said when health workers undertook contact tracing at the schools on Monday, they did direct    tracing but afterwards it was business as usual.

He said that the health  of the  teachers, students  together  with   non-teaching  staff at  the  affected  schools,  should  be  prioritised  before  anything else.

“For example, where I am teaching at Francistown Senior Secondary School (FSSS),  about  five  classes were  affected  but  after  contact tracing  was  undertaken  on Monday, the classes commenced  like  on a normal basis.”

He further said that FSSS should have been closed immediately so that it could have been disinfected, but that was not the case as it was only announced late on Wednesday that the school would be closed on Thursday and classes would resume on Friday.

Rradikolo was worried about the time taken to  respond to  cases  of COVID-19  here(Francistown).

He added: “They responded very late to cases of COVID-19 in schools. Now that they have identified cases of COVID-19 they should

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have immediately closed schools and disinfected  the schools environments.”

When breaking down cases of COVID-19 in city’s schools as of Monday, Rradikolo said that FSSS registered seven cases, followed by Mater Spei College with four cases, Donga  Junior Secondary School (JSS) with three cases and Setlalekgosi with two cases.

He further said  other schools such as Selolwe JSS, Selepa JSS, and Tashatha JSS each registered one case of COVID-19.

He said that the overall  number  of COVID-19  cases  were 19  of which 18  were students and one  teacher.

Rradikolo also added that 120 students and 26 teachers at FSSS have been placed under self-isolation.

Rradikolo said that the statistics of COVID-19 cases in schools  were expected to change  by yesterday (Thursday) as  they were expecting another update from the relevant authorities.

When giving the update of COVID-19 status in Francistown during a tour of US Ambassador to Botswana, Craig Cloud, on Wednesday, Greater Francistown District Health Management Team Coordinator, Rose  Munyere  said that  they  recorded 19  cases  of  COVID-19 in the district of

people who  do not have  history  of travelling.

She  said that they had 22 people in isolation of which 14 of   them were students.

Asked to confirm or  deny allegations of  COVID-19  cases registered  at  FSSS, Mater Spei  College, Setlalekgosi and other  schools, Munyere  said that she was not  in any  position to disclose information.

She said she was in the process of compiling a report to the MoHW headquarters and subsequently promised to share the information in a press statement after the report has been submitted.



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