The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) had unprecedented effects on higher education institutions across the globe, Botswana included, despite the relatively low number of cases officially reported so far (see OMS situation report date July 5, 2020). Following the announcement to declare Coronavirus a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation, Botswana government closed all Universities and centers of Education by 23rd March 2020. For Botswana, a country that still struggles with reaching to learners with limited access to internet connectivity, this presented a lot of challenges for library service providers. Although learners have access to computers and smartphones, Internet connectivity is not easily affordable to learners outside the university and college premises. Libraries then had to come up with ways to reach out to their clients through the following:
- Increased use of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp to share resources and answer queries;
- Conference calls, online meetings and online tutorials;
- Sharing more open access resources;
- Access to eBooks and digital collections.
- In terms of spacing, libraries marked seating spaces, queue lines on grounds to access services at service points and controlled numbers entering libraries from 1st June as Universities opened doors for academic activities.
- As per the Health Regulations Requirements in response to Covid19, all libraries must devote personnel to register users as they enter the library for contact tracing. All users entering the library are expected to sanitize, have their temperature checked and wear masks to curb the spread of the virus.
As Botswana began gradually to ease some restriction starting 8th May 2020, strict protocols still apply to date in the country’s universities.
Here are the Internet links of some of the shared information resources:
- Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) Library: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN5r-vJjZeM
- The University of Botswana: https://www.ub.bw/cov19-orientation
Oarabile Mancha Rakgamanyane
University of Botswana Library