Final year students of tertiary institutions are expected back in school today to complete their semester work and exit examination after staying home for weeks as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
This is in compliance with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s directive in his last televised address to the nation on May 31, during which he announced the phase opening of schools.
As part of safety measures, the government, through the military, on Saturday deployed quantities of Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) in readiness of their return.
The items include 600,000 facemasks, 1,700 Veronica buckets, 200,000 units of hand sanitisers, 3,400 liquid soap; 3,400 tissue paper bundles, and 900 thermometers.
The beneficiaries are 234 tertiary institutions which have a total of 128,316 students and 44,282 staff.
Already all the campuses have been disinfected by the Ministry of Education as part of measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah told journalists before the deployment that government had the safety of students at heart and had therefore put these measures in place to safeguard them.
He said similar arrangements would be made for final year senior and junior high school students before they resume school in the coming weeks to keep them out of harm’s way.
Meanwhile the various tertiary institutions have, over the last few days, put in place their own measures to protect their students and staff.
According to Dr Daniel Norris Bekoe, University Relations Officer of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science of Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, one student would be assigned to one room, all students would be provided with facemask and expected to wear it before allowed entry into every facility.
According to him, there would also be mandatory screening of all students upon arrival to the school while hand hygiene materials including buckets and sanitiser dispensers would be placed at vantage points
Out of the final student population of 13,000, he said only about 1,500 were expected in school including those offering human centered programmes, such as medicine.
Additionally those who could not participate in the vertical learning platforms would be given the opportunity to go to school to mop up and write final examination.
“All other students will continue their assessments and project works, quizzes online. By the end of June we should be done with all examination and by July 15 all results are supposed to be processed and submitted to college boards for consideration and we bring this semester to a close,” he said.
From the Central Region, David O. Yarboi-Tetteh, reports authorities of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) has established a COVID-19 Response Taskforce in collaboration with the Metropolitan Health Directorate to manage any suspected case of virus to prevent its spread among students and staff of institutions.
In addition to that, each halls of residence had allocated 10 rooms to serve as quarantine centres for the holding of suspect cases or persons who had come in contact with an infected person before they are moved to an isolation facility if they test positive.
Aside the university, the Zoomlion has disinfected other tertiary educational institutions, namely the Cape Coast Technical University (CCTU), Ola College of Education, Foso College of Education, Komenda College of Education and the Ajumako Campus of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW).
A visit to the campus of UCC last Friday, witnessed a number of university staff working frantically to ensure the institution’s readiness to welcome all final years to campus.
There are posters with the inscription, ‘No face masks, no entry’ at the halls of residence, library and the lecture halls.
In an interview with the Director of Public Affairs of UCC, Major Kofi Baah Bentum (rtd), he said, the institution had provided hotlines for students and staff of the university.
He said the university was ready to welcome all final year students and noted that the measures rolled out would help prevent the spread of the COVID-19.
He explained that, a number of policies including checking of temperature of all students, provision of washing sinks and Veronica buckets at designated points and provision of hand sanitisers would be provide by the university.
Similar arrangements had been made by CCTU, when Ghanaian Times contacted the Public Relations Officer Fred Opare Baako with the university partnering with the health directorate to isolate any confirmed case.
The situation was not different at the other tertiary institutions in the region such as the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Komenda College of Education, and Ola College of Education.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR