Some parents have expressed concern over sending their children back to school following the rising cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
With the current case count of the disease at 9,910, with 48 deaths and 3,645 recoveries, the parents feel it is not safe to send their children back to school.
They have, therefore, entreated the government to reconsider its decision to allow SHS Three and SHS Two (Gold Track) students to report back to school and rather ensure the situation is stabilised before reopening schools.
All universities, junior high schools (JHSs) and senior high schools (SHSs), including public and private ones, were ordered by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to close down on Monday, March 16, 2020 till further notice, following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
However, in his 10th address to the nation on the COVID-19 situation in the country on May 31, 2020, the President said schools and universities were to reopen, beginning June 15, 2020, to allow for final-year JHS, SHS and university students to resume classes ahead of the conduct of their respective exit examinations.
Furthermore, all final-year students of educational and training institutions being managed by ministries other than the Education Ministry were also to return to school on June 15, 2020 to complete their exit examinations.
As part of the first phase of the easing of the restrictions, all SHS final-year and SHS Two Gold Track students are to return to school on June 22 to enable the final-year students complete their programme, while the rest continue with their academic work, having been home since last September.
To ensure the safety of students, the Ministry of Education has directed that all students, including day students, be accommodated as boarders.
There would also be enhanced protocols in the use of reusable and washable nose masks, frequent washing of hands with soap under running water and periodic disinfection of school facilities.
“All classes are to be split with not more than 25 students in a class. Day schools will have enhanced daily health protocols. Dining will be in batches in boarding schools.
Schools will be unavailable for religious activities and no sports and sporting events are allowed,” the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, had said.
However, these elaborate plans to ensure the safety of the students have not assuaged the fears of some parents who spoke to the Daily Graphic.
Apart from being apprehensive of their children’s safety, they also said they might not be able to visit the children in school.
“The President has told us that all the decisions and interventions are based on science. But the science shows that the curve has not flattened. He closed all schools when the case count was only 21.
“The cases have since been rising daily and allowing teenagers who take a lot of things for granted back to school is not safe. I don’t feel comfortable sending my son back to school,” Mr Osei-Yaw Bimpong, the parent of an SHS Two student said.
A trader at Alhaji-Israel, a suburb of Accra, Mrs Rhoda Osei, whose 17-year-old son attends school in the Eastern Region, said the government should have allowed students to write their final exams when the disease case count in the country was low.
“I am scared for my son as he goes back to school, even though the government says it has put in place the necessary measures to protect students,” he said.
A single mother, Ms Abrefi Agyei, whose son is a day student at a boys’ school in Accra, said she was concerned about how to buy items for him to go to boarding house, albeit temporarily.
“Even if I’m not getting him all the things he needs, I have to get him a students’ mattress and some basic items to make it convenient for him in school.
Financially, the coronavirus has made things tough for us and adding this unplanned expenditure is a source of concern,” she said.
Another parent, Mr Martin Safo, said: “My daughter has a health condition and thus falls within the vulnerable bracket.
How can they ensure her safety while she is in school? Previously, she was in the boarding house, but managing her condition was difficult and we, therefore, withdrew her, so that we could attend to her.
I can’t trust that if she goes back to the boarding house she will be taken proper care of.”
For her part, Yaa Serwaa Amaniampong said: “My son has a condition and as a result we opted for a day school for him.
If he has to go back to school, we would need to go and seek special permission so that we can be taking him to school and picking him up daily because we can’t risk sending him to the boarding house.”
Source: Daily Graphic
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