Government must enforce COVID-19 protocols in Basic Schools – EduWatch
The Africa Education Watch (EduWatch), an Education Policy Research and Advocacy Organization at the weekend called on Government to strictly enforce the COVID-19 isolation protocols in basic schools to forestall a further increase in cases.
The organisation and its partners called on the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ghana Education Service (GES) and the National Schools Inspectorate Authority (NaSIA) to, as a matter of urgency, strictly enforce COVID-19 isolation protocols in basic schools.
In a statement signed by its Executive Director, Mr Kofi Asare, and copied to the Ghana News Agency at Tema, said it had monitored over 400 schools in Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Liberia since July 2020 with the aim to ensure a safe school environment amidst COVID-19 pandemic.
It said, “The GHS has just confirmed 556 positive COVID-19 school cases from 139 schools, one month after schools reopened”, adding that a fortnight ago, EduWatch facilitated the testing of two Classes – Class one and three – at the St. Elizabeth School at West Legon.
“It emerged that two students in these classes had tested positive for COVID-19” it stated, and said “the School Authorities had for over a week been tight-lipped on the matter, even after the affected parents had informed the Headmaster.”
“We accordingly notified the GHS and the National Schools Inspectorate Authority (NaSIA), and the regulator of Private Schools and even though NaSIA did not respond to our letter, the GHS immediately moved in to undertake testing of learners in those two classes,” it added.
According to the statement, “nine days since testing was carried out, as we were patiently awaiting the delayed results, we noted rather disturbingly that academic activity is still ongoing in these two classes with no regard to isolation protocols since the testing, and in contravention of Ghana’s COVID-19 Case Management Protocols”.
Therefore, the statement expressed worry about the disregard for COVID-19 Case Management Protocols and its ramifications on health and safety in basic schools, and called on the GHS, Ministry of Education, Ghana Education Service, and the NaSIA to immediately enforce the COVID-19 isolation protocols in basic schools that recorded cases in order to avert a spike.
The statement further said “in order to prevent the recurrence of such blatant disregard for existing protocols, offending schools must be sanctioned by the Ministry of Education, and should the status quo persist, we risk increasing the incidence of disease spread within our basic schools and in our homes.”
The organisation is thus urging parents to take an extra interest in their ward’s health and safety at school and report any such cases to the nearest GHS directorate.