BOSETU SECRETARY OF SHE CALLS FOR ACTION
Botswana Sectors of Education Trade Union (BOSETU) Secretary of Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Monica Legwale has expressed concern at the rate at which teachers were dying from covid-19.
Teachers, mostly Senior Management, School Heads and Heads of Departments are said to be infected and dying at a higher rate from corona virus infection than other professionals.
During the second term, which is from March to date Covid has already killed 40 teachers. About 10 teachers succumbed to the virus last week.
Speaking to The Voice in an interview, Legwale said teachers were at a higher risk of covid-19 infection and death due to congestion in the workplace, which makes it difficult for them to adhere to Covid-19 protocols.
“The main challenge we have is that despite the pandemic, work needs to be done and I think it is high time teachers and supporting staff are vaccinated because they spend most of their time in school. They do not shift like others. BOSETU believes there is a gap because teachers are employees and Labour has Occupational Health and Safety department, which is supposed to be responsible for social security, but it is not involved with schools. They should be working closely with unions and the Ministry of Health and Wellness in terms of public health education,” Legwale noted.
She went on to state that they have asked the Director of Public Health and Labour Occupational Health and Safety to have a forum to identify and discuss gaps in covid-19 prevention programmes for teachers. This, she said could help in terms of incident investigations to identify the relationship between Covid and the work place.
Legwale further revealed that so far they have had two meetings with the President’s Task Force and the Ministry of Basic Education to find ways to halt the alarming death toll among teachers.