The Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Prof Kwasi Owusu-Amankwa says it is working closely with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to put in place contingency measures before students at various Senior High Schools go home after the successful completion of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
He revealed that as part of the collaboration, the GHS would give advice and probable directives that would be implemented before they exit. Among the probable contingency mentioned was a possible quarantine.
“When the students are done with the WASSCE, they will definitely go home. The conversation is that the Ghana Health Service will put in whatever contingency measure in place before they go home. They [Ghana Health Service] will tell us the details but maybe when they [students] are going home, some arrangements will be made for them to quarantine” he stated.
Prof. Kwasi Owusu-Amankwa further went on to say that it would not be expedient for the students to go home with the virus and spread it in their various communities. He also blamed the media on their reportage and how they have poorly managed information creating fear and panic among parents and the general public.
“The media created panic which for me was needless. I don’t think this is what the conversations should be. The conversations should rather be on what measures have been put in place for issues like safety. The health people tell us that we will be better off keeping them in there and treating them,”
The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) expects mass testing in schools that have recorded cases of COVID-19.
Philippa Larsen, the GNAT President, said the government had “promised” that such mass testing would be in order in the event of recorded cases.
Accra Girls SHS, Konongo Wesley SHS and Mfanstiman Girls SHS are among the schools with confirmed cases of the virus.
“We were informed that anytime there is the information of a confirmed case in a particular school, students and staff of the school will go through the testing,” she recounted on the Citi Breakfast Show.
GNAT, along with other teacher unions and observers, had initially proposed mass testing before school resumed on June 22.
But the government has consistently argued that mass testing is not feasible.
With the recorded cases, however, Ms. Larsen said: “We expect that the schools that have recorded cases should have their staff and students go through the testing.”
PPE to student and staff inadequate amidst contingency measures being put in place by GES before students go home.
One of the main challenges GNAT has observed has been the inadequate supply of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
The government assured that each student, teaching and non-teaching staff will be provided with three pieces of reusable face masks.
Two of these were to be ready within two weeks of schools resuming.
But Ms. Larsen noted that schools were still lacking PPE, as well as other accoutrements like thermometer guns, sanitizers etc.
“We are not too happy about the fact that schools have not received the full complement of their logistics,” she said.
Eighteen thousand Veronica Buckets, 800,000 pieces of 200-millilitre sanitisers, 36,000 rolls of tissue paper, 36,000 gallons of liquid soap and 7,200 thermometer guns were supposed to be supplied to the schools.
Despite the challenges, the GNAT president acknowledged that schools were largely adhering to safety protocols.
SOURCE: ONESIPHORUS OBUOBI