The University of Botswana will spend P7.8 million to provide students with free simcards as part of measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on teaching and learning.
Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor Student Affairs, Mrs Motsei Rapelana, revealed this during a COVID-19 health protocols orientation for students at UB this week. The university is preparing to resume academic activities next week following suspension of classes in April.
A number of measures have been put in place to prevent and manage the spread of COVID-19 on campus. These include social distancing and avoiding crowding in lecture rooms and other learning spaces.
As such, Mrs Rapelana said the university has signed a P7.8 million Memorandum of Understanding with Botswana Telecommunications Corporation to supply each student with a simcard. The simcard will be loaded with internet data for students to download learning material.
Mrs Rapelana, therefore, advised students to constantly check emails, social media platforms as well as the UB website for updates as new developments emerge now and then.
Similarly, Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris, echoed Mrs Rapelana’s sentiments about the "new normal" of doing business for the university. Professor Norris explained that blended teaching and learning would now become the "new normal" to ensure safety and compliance with COVID-19 health protocols on campus.
That means blending conventional teaching with remote teaching is the "new normal", he added. He further emphasized that the university would do everything possible to make sure that teaching and learning was “as effective as if there was no corona virus”. While conceding that these were trying times, he nonetheless appealed to everyone to try as much as possible not to compromise the situation on campus.
“These are trying times indeed but please let us try as much as we can to adhere to simple regulations on campus. It is for your own good and for the health of everyone,” said Professor Norris. The Vice Chancellor acknowledged that there would be often inconveniences but such was the new normal that everyone must get used to.
Chairman of the UB COVID-19 Response Team, Dr Chilindi Maloiso, added that reality demanded adoption of safe living together lest we all perish. Consequently, he highlighted some of the measures put in place to prevent or slow down the spread of the corona virus on campus.
Dr Maloiso said movement in and around campus would be highly monitored as part of disease surveillance measures. He also urged the UB community to report any suspicious activity that might militate against prevention of the spread of COVID-19. Dr Maloiso cautioned people against self-diagnosis but to do self-screening and immediately contact the UB clinic or any health facilities should they suspect COVID-19 symptoms.