Botswana announces dates for phased reopening of public schools

A teacher checks the body temperature of a student before she goes to the classroom in Gaborone, capital of Botswana, June 2, 2020. (Xinhua/Tshekiso Tebalo)

Authorities in Botswana began inspections in public schools for COVID-19 compliance on Friday ahead of a phased reopening of the learning institutions from Tuesday next week.

FILE PHOTO: A teacher checks the body temperature of a student before she goes to the classroom in Gaborone, capital of Botswana. (Xinhua/Tshekiso Tebalo)

The Ministry of Education issued a statement on Thursday saying the inspections will begin on Friday and run up to Monday “to ensure the safe return of learners and teachers”.

The first batch of students who will report for the beginning of the second term on May 11 will consist of upper primary students (classes five, six and seven) and those from junior secondary (form three) and senior secondary (form five).

The second batch of students will report on May 18 and will comprise lower primary students (classes one, two, three and four), and other classes of junior (form one and two) and secondary students (form four).

The third and final batch of students, pre-primary learners and those with special education needs, will report on May 25.

The ministry stressed that the existing health guidelines, such as wearing of masks, physical distancing, temperature checks and hand washing, must be adhered to.

“Strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols is mandatory in order to ensure that schools remain safe for both learners and staff,” the ministry said.

“Parents and caretakers are requested to keep learners at home and immediately seek medical attention for children who are unwell and have flu like symptoms and keep them warm during winter season, it added.

Last month, the government extended a state of public emergency by a further six months in response to a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Botswana has reported more than 48,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 730 deaths, according to government data.