After a period of growing concerns about schools reopening, second-year students in both junior and senior high schools finally returned to school yesterday, after nearly seven months of staying at home, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The initial uncertainties which characterised the reopening of school seem to have died down following the successful completion of school by final-year students at both levels.
Unlike the initial announcement of reopening of school for final-year students which generated lots of controversies, the reopening for the second years appears to have received general acceptance among the citizenry.
Indeed, it is useful to remember that the reason for closing down the schools in March, along with other safety measures, was because of COVID-19.
The main reason was to slow the spread of the coronavirus so that the country’s health facilities would not be overwhelmed by influx of COVID-19 patients.
The good news is, with infection rates now relatively low compared to the height of the pandemic, it is legitimate to reopen the schools because it would be easier to isolate and contain the outbreaks, if they do occur.
The Ghanaian Times welcomes the return of the students to their various campuses just as many parents, who, although had their children engaged in online education, still longed for reopening of schools for many reasons.
One of the reasons is that they did not see the online as a good substitute for real classroom experience, particularly for children with learning barriers such as poverty, language difficulties and special education needs.
That notwithstanding, overwhelming majority of Ghanaians are happy that schools have begun reopening and are looking forward to the country working carefully toward bringing all pupils and students back to their campuses in the very near future.
But that means that the partial reopening of the schools must end successfully to allow for incremental opening of all schools in the country.
For all this to happen however, schools must adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols, including a dramatic reduction in class sizes, physical distancing, better hygiene, and wearing of nose and face masks.
Gladly, the government has assured students, parents, teachers, and the general public that the necessary measures have been instituted to ensure the safety of all while in school.
Already, all schools have been fumigated, disinfected and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) distributed to them.
Now, what is left to do is for all Ghanaians to support the government by adhering to safety protocols, particularly wearing of nose masks, keeping social distance and washing hands frequently with soap under running water in order to curb the spread of the disease.
In that way, schools can bounce back safely and all pupils and students would be back in school in the normal way.