Botswana: First Scenario of School Reopening Today

Gaborone — Government plans to simulate reopening of public schools commencing today through two sets of three different scenarios including partial and full reopening.

For some schools, almost half of the pupils would be returning, envisioning a rotation or shifting system where some would attend in the morning and the others in the afternoon.

Minister of Basic Education, Mr Fidelis Molao told the media on May 30 that all was set for today's reopening after a two-month break caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.

Mr Molao said the first batch to return to school was completing classes being standard sevens, forms three and fives while the rest of the pupils would report on June 16 and pre-school learners on August 4.

He said government had strived to put in place all needed structures to facilitate adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

Some schools had completed required facilities while in others work was still in progress.

The minister said schools that had not yet completed erection of hand wash basins were expected to improvise so that they open at the same time with others.

All schools should open today even though some were still behind in terms of providing all the necessary facilities for the COVID-19 protocols, he said adding that issues such as provision of soap and water should not be a problem.

"We have taken a decision to include geysers in the erection of hand wash basins so that pupils could be provided with warm water as we all know that it is cold and where there is no electricity school authorities are expected to provide warm water from the school kitchens," he said.

The minister said school periods had been reduced from 40 to 30 minutes per subject to allow smooth shifting of morning and afternoon classes as schools would be running from 7.30 am to 4.30 pm.

Responding to a question regarding transportation of students to and from school by private operators, Mr Molao said Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) should liaise with school management on the drawing of class allocation so that it did not affect transportation schedules.

He said thermometers would be calibrated before being used to safeguard learners' health stating that the ministry was aware of rumours of improper functioning of the gadgets.

Mr Molao said teaching staff had been instructed to ensure the observance of social distancing between children and between teachers and pupils.

Meanwhile, some Kweneng and South East region schools that BOPA visited last Friday displayed a high level of preparedness while others were still doing finishing touches.

One school in the well prepared category is Gabane Junior Secondary School where hand wash basins with hot water by the gate were ready for use.

The school has erected extra hand wash basins between classroom blocks for use by pupils while sanitizer dispensers were also mounted by the doorway of all classrooms.

Seating places were also clearly marked with desks placed according to set COVID-19 protocols.

Another observation was the marked floor at the school feeding hall to guide the pupils where to stand while queuing for food.

Other schools such as Thobega JSS in Mmankgodi and Baitlotli in Ramotswa were still a bit behind, but contractors assured BOPA that they would be done by today.

Source : BOPA

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