Strict compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols took center stage yesterday when senior high schools (SHSs) reopened for the final year and second year Gold Track students.
In a number of schools visited by the Daily Graphic across the country, it was observed that all the no mask protocols, no entry, temperature control and placement of Veronica buckets to allow regular hand washing were activated at the entrances of all the campuses as the students arrived.
Teachers have not been left out of line with procedures.
As early as 7 a.m. when the Daily Graphic team began their rounds, students had started arriving and by noon, most of them had reported, ready to go through the rest of the academic year to complete their programmes.
The Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, told Daily Graphic’s Severious Kale-Dery that guidelines on how the heads should manage the schools had been shared with them and they were expected to follow them to the letter.
Prof. Opoku-Amankwa said all the personal protective equipment (PPE) had been dispatched to all schools and it was the expectation that every school would receive its allocation by the close of today.
Under the guidelines, apart from the prescribed protocols,students observe social distancing of at least one metre and avoid handshaking or body contact as well as register their details, including phone numbers with school authorities.
Visits to schools
Some heads of the schools confirmed to the Daily Graphic that they had received the safety and hygiene products that the government dispatched to them.
The visit revealed that students had been given the nose masks, while there were Veronica buckets all around to facilitate handwashing.
There were thermometer guns at the entrance of some of the schools to take the temperature of the students before they were allowed to enter, as part of measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
From Sunyani, Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah and Biiya Mukusah Ali report that many students had arrived.
At the Sunyani Senior High School, Twene Amanfo Senior High/Technical School, Sunyani and the Odomaseman Senior High School where the Daily Graphic visited, there were posters at the entrances of the schools, educating the students about protective measures against the disease such as “Use hand sanitiser”, “Observe Social Distancing” and “No Handshake”.
At the Sunyani SHS, the school had designated a registration desk at the entrance where the data of each student were being collected.
The Senior Housemaster for Special Duties of the school, Mr Abraham Opoku, told the Daily Graphic that administration had arranged to provide orientation on COVID-19 to the students before academic work commenced in a bid to allay fears and increase their knowledge of the preventive measures.
A final-year student at the Twene Amanfo SHTS, Master George Adjei, appealed to the government and the authorities of the school to sustain the various protocols in order to protect students from contracting the disease.
At the Kumasi High School, the Headmaster, Mr Bernard Hall-Baidoo, said Veronica buckets, hand sanitisers and tissue paper had been placed at vantage points for students to access, a claim that was verified by the Daily Graphic’s Emmanuel Baah.
Mr Hall-Baidoo noted that three nose masks and a hand sanitiser would be made available to each student after they had registered.
He said considering the numbers, social distancing protocols would be strictly enforced to ensure that students did not get crowded in their assigned dormitories.
From the Opoku Ware Senior High School (OWASS) in Kumasi, Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor reports that the school had taken delivery of all the logistics promised it by the government.
The Headmaster of the school, Rev. Fr Stephen Owusu Sekyere, said accommodation arrangement had been planned such that 15 students would be in one dormitory, while the large classrooms would take a maximum of 30 students and smaller ones, 25 students.
From Bolgatanga, Vincent Amenuveve reports that some final-year students of the Bolgatanga SHS at Winkogo in the Talensi District and the Bolgatanga Girls SHS started arriving in their respective schools before 8 a.m. yesterday.
The Upper East Regional Director of the GES, Mr Augustine Ayirezang, expressed the hope that by today, the schools would start getting the items.
He attributed the delays in distribution to lack of transportation.
From Sekondi-Takoradi, Dotsey Koblah Aklorbortu reports that at the Sankor Senior High School in the Ahanta West District, students were in school early to clean up the compound in readiness for academic work.
At the Regional Education Directorate, the Officer in charge of SHS in the Western Region, Ms Betty Etroo, said schools’ management had been briefed to take their students through the protocols.
From Ho, Bright Selase Afavi observed that the students trickled in.
As of 8 a.m., only eight students had turned up at the OLA SHS, out of the expected 1,140 students, made up 702 final years and 444 Gold Track students. The situation was not different at the Mawuli SHS, which saw the resumption of 50 students instead of 1,625.
All students had been taken through registration procedures in preparation for the start of academic work.
The Headmistress of OLA SHS, Ms Regina A. M. Coffie, expressed the school’s readiness to receive the students.
From Tamale, Mohammed Fugu reports that the students arrived to strict COVID-19 safety protocols.
Some students who spoke on condition of anonymity expressed satisfaction with the measures put in place by authorities to ensure their safety.
The Headmaster of the Tamale SHS, Rev. Edward Azika, said adequate measures had been put in place to protect the students, adding that “all the students who are reporting are expected to go to the sick bay for their temperatures and records to be taken before they can report to their housemasters”.
He also confirmed receiving all the PPE from the GES yesterday.
Upper West Region
Emmanuel Modey writes from Wa that a visit to three of such institutions in the region showed that all arrangements had been made for the resumption of academic work.
The institutions are the Wa SHS, Wa Senior High /Technical School and Wa Technical Institute.
According to the various authorities, they had taken delivery of the necessary equipment to ensure the safety of the students and staff.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive for Tema, Mr Felix Nii Mensah Annang-La, toured some selected schools in the metropolis to monitor how the schools were observing the protocols, reports Benjamin Xornam Glover.
The MCE was accompanied by the Metropolitan Directors of Health and Education, Dr Sally Quartey, and Mrs Bernice Ofori, respectively as well as the Presiding Member of the TMA, Mr Joseph Korto.
At the Chemu Senior High Technical School, a day second cycle institution, the MCE’s team observed that 36 classrooms had been allotted for the class of 25 students.
Also, arrangement had been made to provide students with a hot meal a day.
Students would, however, have to arrange their own means of transport to and from school daily.
From the Achimota SHS, Desmond Kofi Tawiah reports that many of the students arrived in the company of their parents, clad in nose masks.
The protocols were triggered at the entrance of the various houses, where the students had to wash their hands and had their temperatures taken before they were allowed to send their luggage in.
Parents were not allowed entry into the houses with their children as was usually done and the students had to help one another to carry their luggage to their dormitories.
At Accra Academy, Juliet Akyaa Safo observed that many students who had already reported for school were in their nose masks.
In an interview with some students, who were heading to the classroom, they said they had already been informed that active teaching and learning would begin the next day.
They said there were text messages from the school that notified them about the reopening, however, students who had underlying health conditions would be allowed to commute to school from home instead of the directive that said both boarding and day students must all be in the boarding house.
At Accra High School, a predominant day school, Ruby Delanyo Buafor reports that students had arrived in their numbers ready to resume lessons.
The Headmistress of the school, Rev. Mrs Lydia Anim-Nketia, said the school had procured some PPE although it had received some from the government.
“The school has provided some 2,000 nose masks plus some thermometer guns in addition to what was brought in, we also bought some 11 Veronica buckets as we are yet to receive some from the government,” she said.
Touching on how the school was going to ensure social distancing out of the classroom, she mentioned that teachers were tasked to monitor students, adding that, “students go on break for an hour in batches together with teachers, so it is not crowded at the canteen.”
She revealed that one classroom block had been set aside as an isolation centre and students who came from outside Accra would be admitted to the school’s hostel.
“For lessons, students have their names posted on the classroom doors for easy access and it will be strictly 25 in a class,” Rev. Mrs Anim-Nketia said.
Source: Daily Graphic