Educators trade unions- Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) and Botswana Sectors of Educators Union (BOSETU) have accused the government of negligence following the escalating Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) positive cases in learning institutions.

In their press release penned after a failed meeting with Ministry of Basic Education (MoBE), Department of Public Health, and National COVID-19 Task Team on the 8th of February due to “an emergency” the task team had to attend to, the educator trade unions expressed their dissatisfaction on the measures taken to arrest the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

According to the two unions, “the past three (3) weeks have seen in some schools, more than half of the population testing positive, or becoming close contacts” however, the Department of Public Health is said to be turning a blind eye to this situation by compromising the standards set for the control of the spread of COVID-19 in institutions.

“We have seen glaring double standards being applied in case of schools compared to other institutions where there are positive cases. There have been instances where teachers and students who are close contacts and have undergone testing, and are awaiting results, have been ordered by the school managers supported by the Districts Health Management Teams (DHMTs) to report for work while the normal standard is that they should go on quarantines. There have also been instances when positive cases would be found in a school environment and the institution would continue to operate without any fumigation being done.” they lamented.

The two unions assert that this “negligence” is not only a threat to learners, teachers and stuff but also to the general public as they also have contact with them.

It is in this regard that the two trade unions urge the government to close schools for the period of at least two (2) weeks or fourteen (14) days.

While waiting for the failed meeting to be rescheduled, the two educators unions encourage their members to observe the COVID-19 protocols as outlined by communiques from the Ministry of Basic Education and the Department of Public Service. These protocols include working from home where possible and not going to work if seeing flue-like symptoms.

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