Following Akufo-Addo’s hint to announce the future reopening of schools after the conduct of the 2020 BECE and WASSCE for school candidates in September, the Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS) has suggested some measures to be considered by the government ahead of the nationwide school reopening.
The Association in a statement copied to Georgeweb.org admitted that the outbreak of the locally transmitted coronavirus which forced the government to shut down schools on March 16, 2020 has halted academic activities globally leaving about 1.7 billion students home.
“The closure of schools impacts not only students, teachers and families but have far-reaching economic and societal consequences. In April 2020, UNESCO in conjunction with other world organizations released a general framework for the reopening of schools around the world.” It said.
“Discussions are underway in most countries towards the gradual reopening of schools. Out of the 71 countries that have announced when schools will resume, 12 have reopened schools with various measures being put in place while some 52 have set date to reopen schools later”.
The Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS) in response to the Ghana Education Service’s (GES) call for suggestions and strategies for future school reopening has proposed that temperature gun, soap, veronica bucket filled with water, reusable face mask, alcohol-based hand sanitizer and centre for COVID-19 facility are made available in all schools before reopened to students and staff.
Measures to be taken in schools
Suggesting on measures to be taken on campus to slow and curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Association proposed that,
1. School gatherings such as morning assembly, worship, sporting activities that would converge students in large numbers making the practice of social distancing not possible should be suspended.
2. As part of the monitoring mechanism for early detection of symptoms of COVID-19, we suggest that continual checks should be conducted by health experts under the supervision of the the district health directorate. This should be done in collaboration with the district education service.
3. Students in basic schools should be grouped into two batches; morning and afternoon. Morning 7:30 am – 11:30 am, Afternoon 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm.
Measures to be taken in classrooms
Suggesting on measures to be taken in classrooms to slow and curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Association proposed that;
1. All schools to have the size of the classrooms measured by an accredited body to ascertain the number of pupils suitable to occupy class space. Large classrooms maintain a maximum class size of 30, using all round 1- meter distancing.
2. Pupil mandatory wear face mask in the classroom.
The Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS) additionally proposed that overloading and overcrowding in buses be monitored by relevant agencies to slow a possible spread among students.
Plan for the gradual reopening of schools
According to the Association, it would be the best for the Ghana Education Service to start the gradual school reopening with Junior and Senior High Schools.
It also suggest for the Service to monitor developmental outcomes of the JHS and SHS pilot and use to enhance measures for school reopening of the entire school (in batches) from September to begin the 2020/2021 academic year.
The Association consequently entreated all relevant stakeholders to collaborate in the efforts by the government to reopen schools.