Parents in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis have called on the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Ghana Education Service (GES) to ensure that proper safety measures are put in place in schools before the re-opening of schools.
This, they said, should include the provision of ‘Veronica Buckets’ and hand washing stations created in every classroom, the availability of running water in the schools at all times, provision of thermometer guns in all schools and ensuring that toilet facilities in the schools are disinfected regularly when schools are in session.
It would be recalled that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on March 15, ordered the closure of all schools and universities and the suspension of all public gatherings for four weeks as a means to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They also commended President Akufo-Addo for giving ear to the recommendations made by stakeholders to let the final year learners back to school and especially, adding the Gold Track students who missed on their learning but will now have the opportunity to go and complete that phase of their academic calendar.
The parents, who spoke to the Ghana News Agency in an interview, also expressed their readiness to support the efforts of the government and the school authorities to provide a conducive teaching and learning environment for the final year students who are restless, especially in this challenging times.
Mr Benjamin Arko, Assemblyman for the Essikafo-Ambantem No.1 Electoral Area, said over the years the schools have suffered from various challenges in utilities, food and staff, and called on the government to put adequate measures in place to cater for the needs of the students in school especially, students with special educational needs.
He said the situation calls for stakeholder participation and strict monitoring and adherence to the safety measures outlined by the Ministry of Education for effective session and urged the Ghana Education Service to recruit more personnel for the School Health Education Program (SHEP) to ensure the consistent monitoring of cases in the schools.
Mr Arko urged the MoE to continue with the E-learning programme for students who may not make it to the schools and added that online teaching and learning programmes should also be made available in the schools; E-learning content should be screened in the schools.
Mr Arko another parent and a professional teacher called on parents to support the schools with PPE and other logistics to help fight COVID-19 in the schools while ensuring strict adherence to the COVID-19 safety protocols for the safety of children at home.
President Akufo-Addo in his address to the nation on 31 May, 2020, to provide an update on COVID-19 pandemic, announced the reopening for only final year students for tertiary institutions on Monday, June 15, 2020 with six weeks of academic work and four weeks for exams with all classes in split groups.
Re-opening for only Senior High final year students and SHS 2 Gold Track students on Monday, June 22, 2020 with six weeks of academic work and five weeks for WASSCE with no more than 25 students in a class, all day students in Boarding Schools going to boarding, day schools having enhanced daily health protocols, dining being in batches in boarding schools, no visitors allowed, and no religious activities, sports and sporting events.
For Junior High Schools (JHS), re-opening will be on Monday, June 29, 2020 for only final year students with eleven weeks of academic work and one week for BECE with no more than 30 students in a class. Classes will be from 9:00am to 1:00pm each day with no breaks outside the classroom while schools will have enhanced daily health protocols without religious activities, sports or sporting events.
The Ministry said there would be disinfection of all educational institutions (public and private), provision of WASH facilities for all schools, provision of washable and reusable facemasks for all students and staff, mapping of all schools to health facilities and no mass gathering.