Mr Kwamena Duncan, the Central Regional Minister, has charged school authorities to ensure strict compliance of COVID-19 safety protocols to prevent its dire consequences.
He advised students and staff to religiously abide by the safety protocols instituted by the government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) adding that those who disobey the order would be dealt with under the law to serve as a deterrent to others.
Mr Duncan advised when he toured some Senior High Schools in the Cape Coast Metropolis to assess their readiness and adherence to Covid-19 safety protocols as schools reopened on Monday, June 22.
The Regional Minister visited St. Augustine’s College, Ghana National College, Mfantsipim, Wesley Girls, Holy Child, Aggrey Memorial Zion, and Christ the King Academy.
He was accompanied by Mrs Martha Owusu -Agyemang, Regional Director of Education, Mrs Akosua Agyeiwaa Owusu-Sarpong, Regional Director of Health and Commissioner of Police (COP), Paul Manly Awuni, Regional Police Commander.
The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his address on Sunday, May 31, directed all educational institutions including Universities to re-open for final year students to complete their studies.
This also includes second-year Gold Track students who are to complete the second semester which was truncated as a result of the outbreak of Covid-19, compelling the Government to close schools amidst many other measures.
Mr Duncan was satisfied with the pragmatic measures put in place by all the schools and urged the authorities to remain focused to help check any outbreak in schools.
In all the schools visited, the Ghana News Agency observed the presence of quantities of Veronica buckets, hand sanitizers, and strict adherence to safety protocols.
At the entrance of the schools were security personnel who checked the temperature of all people entering the premises followed by detailed registration of all students with varied identification codes for easy tracing in case of any detection of the virus.
Also, nurses had been assigned to the schools with designated quarantined centres while some trained staff were on hand to ensure compliance, monitoring, and evaluation of measures.
At St Augustines College, as at 0100 hours, the school had registered almost half of the 1,100 students as many arrived in intervals to register with efficient safety protocols.
The situation was not different at Wesley Girls Senior High School where about 835 students made up of 453 and 382 final year and gold track students respectively were expected.
Mrs Florence Offei, Headmistress of Academy of Christ the King was deeply worried about low students attendance saying, of the 650 expected day students, less than 100 had reported as at 1420hrs.
Mr Francis Ato Davis, Assistant Head of Academics at Adisadel College was also displeased with students’ attendance as less than half of over 1,063 expected students had reported.
However, he assured of their readiness to commence academic activities with over 50 classrooms and well-spaced out dormitory beds, dining hall for decongestion.
A quarantine centre and quantities of personal protective equipment and detergents were all ready.
Other heads of schools expressed similar sentiments of low students turnout and assured parents of adequate measures put in place to prevent the outbreak of the virus in schools.
Nonetheless, a cross-section of parents and students in an interview with the Ghana News Agency expressed fear despite the safety protocols to prevent the COVID-19 outbreak in schools.
Mr Seth Appiah, a parent was not pleased to send his ward to school with the view that the students should not be rushed back to school until the pandemic was brought under control.
Madam Regina Otabil, another parent on the other hand clamoured for the early reopening of schools because she was overburdened with work and taking care of children.
“My resources are overstretched because, since the closure, they have had to hire the services of caretakers to manage their homes while they were at work.”
She noted that in as much as they wanted their children to be in school they were also concerned about their safety, adding that the huge population in some of the schools will make it different to observe social distancing.