The Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS) has issued a proposal indicating certain measures to be considered before considering a successful reopening of Schools in the country amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The GNAPS in a statement released outlined some measures to consider when reopening schools in the country.
According to GNAPS, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected educational systems worldwide, resulting in virtually complete closures of schools, universities and colleges. Nearly 1.7 billion learners, as of 22 May 2020, have been affected due to school closures in response to the pandemic.
”School closures impact not only students, teachers and families but have far-reaching economic and societal consequences. In April 2020, UNESCO in conjunction with other world organizations released a general framework for the reopening of schools around the world.” It said.
”Discussions are underway in most countries with respect to the gradual reopening of schools. Out of the 71 countries that have already announced when schools will resume, 12 have reopened schools with various measures in place while 52 have set the date for reopening.” It indicated.
In response to the call of the Ghana Education Service for suggestions and strategies for the future reopening of schools, the Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS) make the following proposals for a review aimed at preventing the spread of the virus in our schools and mitigating it’s spread in case of an infection.
• The provision of logistics at school entry points is key. These include:
– Temperature gun
– Soap, running water from tap or bucket, tissue.
– New nose mask daily as they report to school
– Hand sanitizer
– Steam bath dispenser if the school can afford
– Call centre to COVID-19 rapid response unit and parents.
• Measures to be taken on campus.
- We suggest that school gatherings such as morning assembly, worship, sporting activities that would converge students in large numbers making the practice of social distancing difficult should be suspended for now.
- As part of the monitoring mechanism for early detection of symptoms of COVID-19, we suggest that spontaneous checks should be carried out by health professionals under the auspices of the district health directorate. This should be done in collaboration with the district education service.
- Create two batches in basic schools; morning and afternoon. Morning 7:30 am – 11:30 am, Afternoon 12:30 pm – 4:30pm.
•Measures to be taken inside the classroom.
- All schools to have the size of the classrooms measured by an accredited body to ascertain the number of pupils suitable to occupy class space. Large classrooms maintain a maximum class size of 30, using all round 1- meter distancing.
- Every pupil wears a face mask in the classroom.
•School bus operation
Overloading and overcrowding in buses be monitored by relevant agencies.
• Plan for the gradual reopening of schools
-Commence reopening with JHS 3 and SHS 3 students from July – August to write their exams based on anticipated new WAEC timetable.
-Monitor developmental outcomes of the JHS 3 and SHS 3 pilot and use to improve school reopening of the entire school (in batches) in September to commence the 2020/ 2021 academic year.
”We do not propose these measures as an exhaustive treatise on the situation but a guideline to be used in conjunction with other proposals from other stakeholders since this would only serve to enrich the quality of the decisions we make in these trying times. We, therefore, implore all relevant stakeholders to collaborate in the efforts to resume schools.” It concluded.