Coronaviruses also known as COVID are a large family of viruses that cause illness such as common cold.
It is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 In China, Wuhan and since the epidemic started, we have been monitoring the situation closely. In recent weeks, COVID-19 has spread well beyond China and has become a global health emergency with a few countries in Africa recently reporting their first cases.
Wherever we have physical, we are taking precautionary measures. Our efforts are based on four major areas namely
- Sanitisation, and
It is important that this communication and all the elements noted in it are only precautionary and should not cause any member of our community to panic.
Information: The University will endeavour to share credible information widely with our community to ensure that people are well informed of COVID-19 and preventive measures recommended by our national governments and multilateral organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO).
This information will be shared through various means including posters on campuses, email/blackboard/social media communications to staff, students and alumni, and general information talks by invited guests and members of our staff (in particular our Faculty of Health and Education). We urge all members of our community to avoid forwarding social media posts that they have not cross checked with credible sources such as the government or WHO.
Travel: The University will be taking measures to minimise official travel. We will be monitoring national travel advisories in our respective countries; however travel to and through heavily affected countries (such as China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, amongst others) will be discouraged and restricted. We recognised that the most common form of official international travel is for conference participation; we request the understanding of all staff if such travel is restricted. The University will be considering and responding to each official travel request individually as the global situation is changing on a daily basis. We recognise that a number of our staff may also be travelling for personal reasons. While personal travel will not be restricted, we request everyone to minimise personal travel and request that all international personal travel is informed to the HR Department/head of your campus. Sharing this information will help the University be better prepared as the global health situation evolves. The same request will be made to students as well through a communication to them.
Sanitisation: It is very important that we all build the habit of washing our hands (palms, fingers, thumbs, finger tips and the back of the hand) frequently with soap and water, which is adequately available at our campuses. The University is procuring hand sanitisers for all our campuses based on availability in the market, where we face a challenge of shortage. These will be widely available for use by staff, students and visitors. We are also enquiring about other campus sanitisation solutions that may be needed in case of a health emergency linked to one of our campuses.
Operations/Academics: As with all areas, we will be monitoring national advisories and recommendations. University operations and learning activities continue unchanged for now; however, in the possible scenario that the University is asked by government to restrict campus entry to only staff and not students, we may consider moving to alternate models of teaching and learning such as online learning.
Botho University fortunately has the capacity to offer online learning. Distance learning students should not be affected by this contingency. Academic staff not familiar with teaching online will be given additional training in the coming weeks by our Blended and Distance Learning Campus team – academic staff are required to partake in these trainings to improve our preparedness. Academic staff are also requested to ensure that all students are able to log-in to and use Blackboard properly. It is important to note that online learning is only a contingency plan.
Botho University campuses are in touch with relevant authorities in the respective countries and will work with health authorities for the benefit of our community. It is important to note again that this communication and all the elements noted in it are only precautionary – as members of an education institution, we have a responsibility to inform and be informed and not to panic and spread hysteria.
For more information, see below:
Ministry of Health and Wellness –
Tel : +267 363 2766 | Toll Free number : 0800 600 740
(Information courtesy : Ministry of Health and Wellness, Republic of Botswana)