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Pupils return to school amid strict COVID-19 safety protocols

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Academic work has begun across the country in most basic schools following the reopening of schools after a 10-month break because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools visited by GCFRNG showed school administrations ensuring adherence to various safety protocols.

Lessons were in session with pupils seen in face masks, in line with protocols.

Management of some basic schools in the Greater Accra Region assured of maximum compliance with the safety protocols following the reopening of schools.

“Serious measures are going to be put in place in terms of their food, their handwashing etc. The classrooms have also already been fumigated,” one headteacher said.

In Sekondi Takoradi, some mission school managers joined school authorities to strictly enforce the protocols.

When GCFRNG visited the Bishop Essuah Memorial Basic school premises at the Star of the Sea Catholic Cathedral in Takoradi, the Church President, Chris Donkoh, was seen at the main gate of the school ensuring observation of the COVID-19 protocols.

In Tamale, infrastructural inadequacies in most public schools are likely to affect the adherence of the COVID-19 safety protocols.

To address the situation, some schools in the Tamale metropolis say they are in talks with the School Management Committees and the Parent-Teacher Associations to adopt a morning and afternoon shift system.

At the Kanvili R/C cluster of schools, academic work had begun at the time of GCFRNG’ visit.

The headmaster, Kombian Felix Mensah said: “we will divide classes that are large into a shift system so that when we divide it, we will be able to observe the COVID-19 protocols very well.”

Some private schools in the West Gonja municipality also plan to run shift systems in order to reduce risks of COVID-19 infections in classrooms.

The proprietor of New Life preparatory school in Damongo, Pastor David Gbolo Sakara said the large classroom sizes coupled with new admissions have made this necessary.

“We don’t want them to be more than 30 in a class. Before we went on the brake, some of the classes had 40-plus students,” Pastor Sakara noted.

On class sizes for basic and senior high schools, the Ghana Education Service protocols say district directors and heads of schools should use their discretion to address peculiar situations.

In the Ashanti Region, managers of some schools GCFRNG visited said they would not compromise on the safety protocols.

Rev. Comfort Appiah, the headmistress of Victory Baptist School in Kumasi, for example, said pupils without face masks will not be allowed in school.

“Definitely they will send their children back home given the strictness with which the president spoke last night.”

Some of the pupils who spoke to GCFRNG shared their willingness to comply with the directive to prevent the spread of the virus amongst themselves.

From the Volta Region, GCFRNG’ correspondent, Benjamin Aklama reports that academic activities are yet to be rolled out on a full scale in some schools because pupils are participating in clean-up exercises.

Children in basic and second cycle schools have returned to school today, following the president’s directive on the reopening of schools.

In some areas, although pupils were in school, the day was dedicated to sanitation activities.

Unlike in the case of some private basic schools in the region, children in most public basic school had to clear grasses on their campuses to rid the area of snakes and other dangerous animals.

Some parents said they were okay with the safety protocols but were of the opinion that labourers should have been engaged to make the schools ready for academic work.

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