President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has directed a sub-committee of the presidential taskforce on COVID-19 to oversee the prevention of the spread of the virus in senior high schools (SHSs).
Additionally, dedicated personnel have been assigned to the emergency hotline 311 to link parents to their children’s schools to validate rumours about COVID-19 and related issues instead of massing up there.
The Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah who made this known at a press briefing in Accra yesterday assured that the government would go all out to protect the students in school.
This follows the confirmation of about 13 cases in SHSs including Accra Girls, in less than a month since they reopened to complete course works and write exit examination.
Parents and guardians have been on edge ever since such news broke out with those whose wards were at the Accra Girls, trouping to the school on Monday to withdraw their children.
The death of a student at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) SHS who fell sick but was allegedly left to die over fears that he was suffering from COVID-19, has exacerbated calls for closure of schools.
However, Mr Oppong Nkrumah, says there was no course for alarm as the government was enhancing measures in the schools to keep the children safe for the remaining eight weeks left.
The presidential taskforce, he said, was made up presidential advisor on health, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Deputy Minister of Health Dr Bernard Okoboye; Deputy Minister of Education , Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum and Dr Abogye Dacosta , the Director of Health Promotion at the Ghana Health Service.
He said they were to supervise the existing regional monitoring teams for COVID-19 and “ensure that the guidelines for campus quarantine are strictly enforced and any gap is swiftly addressed where incidents are suspected. The general guidelines including screening are all available and utilised”.
On the gathering of parents at school, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said it was rather part of the moves that could escalate the spread of the virus, adding, “We want to strongly encourage parents that if you do come across a story relating to your ward’s school, call the call centre, do not go to the schools”.
He cautioned heads of schools to rise to the occasion and uphold all preventive measures otherwise the Ghana Education Service would be compelled to intervene.
Asked if the government was considering another lockdown of the country as a result of the increasing cases, he said all options had always been on the table from the onset and the government would impose restrictions when need be.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR