The University of Ghana, on Monday, re-opened for final year students to prepare towards their exit examinations.
The re-opening is in line with the Presidential Directive that all tertiary institutions – both private and public – should, on June 15, reopen for finalists to complete their courses, as part of the gradual easing of the COVID-19 restrictions.
Responding to concerns that the students may be exposed to the virus on campus as had happened elsewhere, the President in his 11th national broadcast on the pandemic and containment measures, said it was imperative to find a way of guaranteeing the prospects of the generation of young people who were the objects of education today, and who represented the nation’s future.
Education, he said, was the conduit for preparing the youth to secure the nation’s future and novel Coronavirus could not be allowed to undermine the nation’s survival, progress and future.
He, however, entreated teachers and non-teaching staff, as well as the finalists, to be more disciplined, than ever before, and observe the social distancing directives, wear face masks and comply with other safety and hygiene protocols, to curb the spread of the respiratory disease.
The President announced the indefinite closure of all schools, effective Monday, March 16, as part the COVID -19 containment measures.
When the Ghana News Agency visited the University of Ghana, veronica buckets filled with water for washing of hands with soap and hand sanitizers, had been placed at vantage points.
In an interview with some of the students who had reported on their expectations for the rest of the 2019/2020 academic year, Mr Reuben Owusu, a level 400 Political Science Student, commended the Government for the decision.
He said taking their exams online had been a novelty.
He hailed the authorities the University for ensuring the strict application of the World Health Organization (WHO) protocols and the Ghana Health Service guidelines for containing the disease.
Madam Vashti Appiah-Agyei, who is pursuing a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) programme in Seed Science and Technology, said all those who had arrived were made to wear facemasks before being allowed entry.
Madam Garnet Acquaye, an MPhil Clinical Psychology student, urged her colleagues to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols to keep everyone safe.
Madam Sakyibea Ofei, also an MPhil Clinical Psychology student, lauded the University’s Management for enlightening them on the COVID-19 protocols; adding that they were not permitted to receive any visitor on campus.
The finalists would be in school for six weeks.
To aid compliance to the hygiene protocols, the Government started airlifting quantities of Personal Protective Equipment, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, Veronica Buckets, packets of soap and tissue rolls to 234 tertiary educational institutions in the 16 regions, ahead of the re-opening.
The items include 600,000 units of reusable face masks, 200,000 millilitres of hand sanitizers, 1,700 Veronica Buckets, 34,000 tissue papers and 34,000 packets of soap, as well as 900 thermometer guns.
About 200,000 staff and students are supposed to benefit from the logistics, comprising 44,000 teaching and non-teaching staff and 128,000 students.
Each person is entitled to three sets of reusable face masks, alcohol-based hand sanitizers and tissue papers to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, the Government, through the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service, has disinfected both public and private tertiary education institutions.
Universities with their own hospitals and clinics have been equipped with the necessary PPE, and have isolation centres to deal with any positive cases.
All other institutions without their own clinics and hospitals have been mapped to health facilities.
The distribution of the logistics is being undertaken by a special taskforce of the Government, under the supervision of the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo.
The regional breakdown of the tertiary educational institutions is as follows: Greater Accra-57; Ashanti-31; Eastern-22; Northern-14; and Central-18.
The rest are; Volta-17; Western-11; Upper East-11; Upper West-11; Bono-14; Ahafo- nine; Bono East- six; Western North-57; Oti- three; Savannah- four and North East-one.