Child Rights International (CRI), a non-governmental organization committed to the promotion and protection of the dignity of children has said closing down of schools in response to COVID-19 should be based on medical evidence.
Mr Bright Appiah, Executive Director, CRI, who said this in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency said it was because, “The determination as to whether they got infected from home to school or contracted it on campuses is not yet proven…
“CRI believes that in order to arrive at that decision, the following must be of primary consideration: firstly, Ghana Health Service (GHS) in their daily data must report on the behaviour of COVID-19 among children.”
The statement said that would help understand the pattern behaviour of COVID-19 among children to inform the policy direction and to also know how serious the consequences were on children.
It said in most advanced countries, research showed that transmission of COVID-19 among the age cohort of 20 years and below was slow as compared to the vulnerable groups.
It noted that in the Ghanaian context, there was the need for medical research to understand the behaviour pattern to design policies to address specific needs of children in that direction.
“Secondly, whether or not we have gotten to a level of spread to close down schools; immunologist must establish the rate of the infection among children to establish the Reproductive (R) rate of spread of the virus, COVID-19,” it said.
“In other jurisdictions, the R number took into consideration the rate of infection among children, number of children admitted to hospitals (in relation to severity) and the number of children who died as a result of COVID-19.”
It said the conditions were crucial in order to take decisions that were evidence based to inform responsive mechanism needed in schools to address COVID-19 amongst children.
“Meanwhile, CRI is proposing to the Ghana Education Service (GES) and GHS to enhance security and protection services to affected schools in the country.
“They must also ensure that all protocols are observed and medical services are available in such affected schools.”
The statement recommended that GES/GHS should make information available to parents in the event of infection, detection and protect the interest of children in all schools.
It said in addition, GES/GHS must provide the general exit mechanism for integrating children currently in school, when they were done with their exams.
The statement said the fight against COVID-19 among children was a collective agenda; adding that parents must educate children on the protocols, schools authorities must provide information on the state of children in schools and society must be on the alert to guide children whenever there was a violation of the protocols.
CRI works for the realization of the fundamental rights of children and creates a nurturing environment for the development of their unique abilities, talents and personalities.