Pressure movement in Ghana, OccupyGhana is also known as Occupy Flagstaff House has predicted that Ghana is likely to lose the fight against the novel virus as schools could turn into hotspots for COVID-19 transmission amid the partial reopening of schools for final year students.
According to the movement, students are of a 90% chance to be super-spreaders as a result of the reopening of schools by President Akufo-Addo despite the sudden increase in the country’s COVID-19 cases.
super-spreaders: an individual who is highly contagious and capable of transmitting a communicable disease to an unusually large number of uninfected individuals.
The Pressure group argued that President Akufo-Addo’s decision could be the worst decision ever in the battle against the novel disease cautioning that “If we are not careful, these schools could turn into hotspots for disease transmission and the students could become super-spreaders.”
The Occupy Flagstaff House in a statement sighted by Georgeweb.org suggested for the government to improvise in the conduct of exams in a COVID-19 environment instead of getting the students physically present to take exams.
“Looking at the behaviour of the general Ghanaian population, how sure are we that the JHS and SHS students are going to wear their masks and social-distance not only in the classrooms but also when they leave the classrooms and in the dormitories? How good is personal hygiene going to be at a time when it is of utmost importance? For instance, are all schools going to be assured of the running water needed for the basic hand-washing protocol?
“Of course, students have been impacted by lockdown. Their learning has been affected, even where there are robust online and at-home lessons underway. But at this point in the school year, is it really worth the risk of reopening schools? If the whole aim is for them to finish their exams, can we put resources into getting students to take these exams online? How about students being given time-bound extended essays and/or open book examinations to write at home? How about combining all of those with continuous assessment grades to arrive at a final exam score for all such students?
“We are asking these questions because we do not think that the need to get the students to be physically present for exams is worth the risk of having the disease break out in our schools. We are not convinced that if students get sick in schools, there are adequate resources to test and treat them.”
The movement in a related statement has called on the Akufo-Addo government to be transparent in reporting the COVID-19 figures or risk losing the public trust.
According to them, they suspect that the country’s coronavirus death toll is being manipulated, adding that reported 54 deaths so far cannot be right.
It argued that “for instance, even though 38 deaths have been reported from the Ashanti Region alone, less than 20 of those deaths are included in the national count!”.
“If the public suspects under-reporting etc, there will be a loss of trust in the reporting system and that will have consequences that will influence public behavioral responses” it advised.
As of the time writing this post, Ghana has officially recorded 54 deaths from the COVID-19 with case count skyrocketing to 11,964.