President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Sunday urged parents to remain calm as their wards return to school tomorrow, assuring that government will ensure their safety from the coronavirus pandemic.
Some 532,000 final year Junior High School (JHS) students in 17,439 schools across the country are to return to school Monday, June 29, 2020 to prepare and sit for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
However, parents had expressed concern on the safety of their wards as Ghana’s coronavirus case count increases and wanted the COVID-19 situation brought under control before schools reopened.
In a televised address to the nation on measures being taken to curb the spread of COVID-19, President Akufo-Addo allayed the fears of parents, saying that government was determined to protect the lives of all students, teachers and all other personnel who would be involved in the 11-week exercise.
He said government, in consultation with the Conference of Heads of Basic Schools and Regional and District Directors of Education and Health had put in place the relevant measures to safeguard the lives of their wards and teachers.
“I assure all parents and guardians that Government will not put the lives of seven hundred and fifty thousand (750,000) students, teachers and nonteaching staff, who will be returning to school from tomorrow, at risk.
“We have made all the required provisions to protect them whilst in school,” he stated.
To guarantee the safety of the students, teaching and non-teaching staff, the President said all Junior High Schools across the country have been fumigated and disinfected.
Also, each basic school has been mapped to a health facility where care would be provided to the sick by nurses assigned to these schools.
Additionally, 45,000 Veronica buckets, 90,000 gallons of liquid soap, 90,000 rolls of tissue paper, 40,000 thermometer guns, 750,000 pieces of 200mils sanitizers, and 2.2 million reusable face masks have been procured and distributed to the 17, 439 schools across the country.
President Akufo-Addo noted that though there were few hitches during the reopening of the universities and senior high schools, he was impressed with the level of compliance to the enhanced hygiene and social distancing protocols by authorities and students in those institutions.
Government, he said, was determined to ensure the same level of conformity in the Junior High Schools, disclosing that all headteachers and their teaching staff, would, on opening of school tomorrow, be taken through a COVID-19 sensitisation programme aimed at ensuring that hygiene and safety protocols are clearly spelt and relayed to students accordingly.
The President urged students, teachers and all other persons who would undertake the exercise to strictly adhere to set protocols to curb the spread of the disease.
“It bears repeating, however, that they must all adhere strictly to enhanced personal hygiene and social distancing protocols, regularly wash their hands with soap under running water, refrain from shaking hands and hugging, and wear masks to protect themselves and others.”
The JHS 3 students will be in school for 11 weeks of preparation and revision, and sit the BECE test a week after.
As per set rules, student will sit in classes of 30, starting from 0900 hours and closing at 1300 hours.
Students would not be allowed breaks outside the classroom. Assemblies and sporting events are banned; and schools premises are not to be used for religious and other activities.
As at Saturday, June 27, 2020, Ghana’s COVID-19 case count stood at 17,351, with 12,994, recoveries, 4,245 active cases in isolation and treatment centres, 30 persons were severely and critically ill and 122 deaths.