Pressure Group, OccupyGhana, has said Ghana is likely to lose the ‘strength in racing with the covid-19 virus’ following reopening of schools.
It argued this could be the worst decision in the fight against the novel coronavirus warning “If we are not careful, these schools could turn into hotspots for disease transmission and the students could become super-spreaders.”
In a statement OccupyGhana suggested for 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.”
Meanwhile, Occupy Ghana in its statement called on the government to be transparent in reporting figures or risk losing the public trust.
“There is cause to suspect that the death numbers are being massaged. The reported 54 deaths so far cannot be right. 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 behavioural responses.
“Several healthcare workers have been infected and some have died, sadly. This points to the sad fact that our doctors and nurses and frontline health workers do not have adequate PPE. Our holding and treatment facilities are running out of space and just a few days ago, the Special Advisor on Health at the Presidency lamented the fact that we do not have enough critical care staff. We also do not have enough critical care beds.”
Ghana has officially reported 54 deaths from the COVID-19 so far with case count hitting 11,964.