Many teachers and students in Ghana said on Monday that after several months of school closure due to COVID-19, it is good the government has reopened schools for academic work, but they also voiced their concern over the country’s rising cases.
A visit to some junior and senior high schools (JHSs/SHSs) in Ghana’s port city Tema by Xinhua on the reopening day indicates COVID-19 safety protocols have been widely followed on campus.
Schools in the eastern port city including community 7 Number 2 and Tema regular baptist JHSs as well as the Tema Methodist day and Chemu SHSs had placed containers with water and soap for handwashing as well as sanitizers at vantage points for teachers and students as well as visitors to the schools.
The wearing of face masks and social distancing notices had also been written to preach the essence of adhering to protocols. Security personnel were at various entrance points ensuring those without face masks were denied entry into their premises.
Teachers and students who spoke to Xinhua said the reopening of schools was in order as they had stayed in their homes for almost 10 months.
Joy Agbe Carbonu, a 50-year-old visual arts teacher at Chemu SHS said, “It is good we are back to school fully for the first time since March. I hope the government did the reopening in a staggered manner so that our children will be going back in phases.
“In as much as I am happy schools have resumed, my worry however is that the country’s COVID-19 cases have been rising at an alarming rate during the Christmas festivities till now. I want the government to enforce the law on wearing face masks so that those who break it are punished to serve as a deterrent,” he added.
Second-year general arts student at Chemu SHS Nicole Abbiw commended the government for taking the bold decision in reopening schools fully and observed she was worried about the future of her education with the uncertainty brought about by the virus.
“I am happy the government has reopened schools, and it’s good we can continue with our academic work,” Abbiw said.
Tertiary students across the country resumed on Jan.9 and Vera Acheampong Duodu, second-year political science student at the University of Ghana told Xinhua the pandemic cannot truncate human activities and that there is a need to find an appropriate way to live with it.
“Whether we like it or not, the pandemic is part of our lives. It is important for us to find appropriate ways so that we can live with it to continue our activities. It is good the government has asked that full academic work resumed across the country,” she said.
Ghanaian schools were closed on March 23 last year at a time when the country’s COVID-19 case count was 16. After prudent management of the virus, the government opened schools partially for final year students in the JHSs and SHSs as well as tertiary institutions to enable them to write their exit exams between June to September last year.
Second-year students in both junior and senior high schools were also made to return to school between October and December last year to complete their academic work. In all instances, few cases of COVID-19 were recorded in some schools which the health authorities handled.
The country’s case count has, however, seen an upsurge in recent times at a time when all levels of schools have resumed. Ghana’s COVID-19 cases as of Monday according to the GHS stood at 58,065 with 55,789. The country’s total active cases are 1924 with 351 being new cases while 356 people have died from the virus.
Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in an address Sunday night assured the government had taken steps to ensure the safety of students with the reopening of schools. Enditem