The government has set up a committee to look into health-related incidents in Senior High Schools.
This follows reports of COVID-19 infections in schools and the death of a final-year student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Senior High School from health complications and alleged negligence.
The committee is to monitor schools over the next eight weeks as most Senior High School students prepare for the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE).
Schools have been back in session since June 22 after initially being shut down for safety concerns.
Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, July 9, 2020, the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said the committee will also “oversee the operations of the regional monitoring teams which are already in place across the various regions.”
“The president has tasked a subcommittee of the COVID-19 Presidential taskforce to be set up to quickly address challenges that may arise in the next eight weeks while final year students are in school.”
The committee is to also “ensure that guidelines of campus quarantine are strictly enforced and any gaps swiftly addressed where incidents are suspected.”
For anxious parents, the Minister said the COVID-19 information centre was being given additional persons to cater to them.
The 311 has mainly served as a helpline for reporting suspected cases and receiving feedback from health workers.
“So if you are a parent and you are reading a story online and you are hearing something, we encourage you to call 311 from tomorrow. Dedicated officers are being put there to help connect parents to the schools to validate whether some of the reports are true,” Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said.>
This is to discourage parents from gathering at schools as was the case at Accra Girls Senior High School after reports of COVID-19 infection.
Accra Girls SHS, Konongo Wesley SHS and Mfanstiman Girls SHS are among the schools with confirmed cases of the virus.
Possible shutdown of schools
The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) is concerned about the increasing negative reports and expects schools to shut down if the situation does not improve.
In a statement, the group warned that the shutdown of the schools “will be inevitable” on the current trajectory.
It said “chaotic incidences” were putting students “in great fear and danger”.
The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) President, Angel Carbonu, however, wants the government to concede defeat and shut down schools before the situation worsens.
“From where I sit now before we get to a point where we cannot control, I think we should bite the bullet and close down the schools. That is my personal opinion. The way things are going, I can assure you the story is not looking too pleasant,” he said.