Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) has made the call to have schools closed for the government to tackle and address the spate of COVID-19 cases.
Despite the alarming COVID-19 statistics in schools during the second wave, only three have closed, namely Shakawe Junior, Shakawe Senior and Moshupa Senior secondary schools. At Shakawe Senior the school community has been quarantined for contact tracing after 30 students tested positive for the virus, while at Shakawe Junior, two students who tested positive were suspected to have been in contact with 26 others who are in quarantine. Moshupa Senior was closed down after one teacher tested positive leading to the rest of the teaching staff going into quarantine, with no one left to instruct learners. According to a survey by BOSETU, in Francistown Senior, 16 teachers were supposed to be on quarantine after being in contact with two positive cases, however they were ordered to report for work despite fears that they could spread the virus to the rest of the school community. A similar case was recorded in Tonota, where all teachers were taken for quarantine after one of them tested positive. However, the quarantined teachers were ordered to report to work while still awaiting their status results. Still in Tonota, the BOSETU survey observed that one school was using boarding facilities to quarantine its 16 suspected cases. Matshekge Senior in Bobonong continues to operate despite having 234 students in quarantine, as well as 10 teachers after five students tested positive as well as three support staff.
In another worrying case, the BOSETU research found that three COVID-19 cases involving students at St Joseph’s, there was no contact tracing nor isolations, while at Tlogatloga Junior, a teacher and a student tested positive, but there also had not been any contact tracing amongst teachers nor students. A similar trend has been reported at Mafitlhakgosi Junior, where three cases involving a teacher, a support staff, and a student were reported. BOSETU research reports that there had been no contact tracing, nor isolation of close contacts.
At Segoditshane Primary, where six teachers and three students tested positive, BOSETU’s survey indicates that despite the nine cases, there has also been no contact tracing.
Last week, BOSETU reported that there was no contact tracing for three cases at Sefhare Junior, where a support staff member on isolation had contact with two teachers, who had been in contact with students and other teachers before showing symptoms, yet no contact tracing was conducted.