Second year students in Junior and Senior High Schools across the country yesterday resumed schooling with mixed feelings.
While some were excited about their return to school, others expressed worry about the preparedness of the schools to resume their academic programme.
While some schools recorded high attendance, the numbers were not encouraging in others which were visited by the Ghanaian Times in Accra.
As announced by the Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Education Service, the reopening of schools for the students was to be done under strict adherence to the safety protocols.
This comes off the back of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s directive in his 16th address to the nation on reopening Junior and Senior High Schools to enable students complete their academic year.
The directive was part of measures put in place to ease restrictions and return the country to it normal state as schools across the country had been closed down since March to contain the pandemic.
Following that, the Ghana Education Service (GES) assured all parents and guardians of the safety of all students while at school as all necessary measures have been put in place.
At Accra Wesley Girls Senior High School, Kaneshie Cluster of Schools, Kaneshie Technical Senior High School and Wesley Grammar Senior High School, the various schools had laid out a number of measures in accordance with the safety protocols and were strictly adhered to by both students and teachers.
Also, visitors were expected to do same and their details taken by the security while some schools had posters conveying messages to students and staff on the safety protocols on the school buildings.
In an interview, an Assistant headmaster of the Kaneshie Technical Senior High School, said the school was ensuring compliance of the safety protocols.
According to him, school would be in session for the next ten weeks with a class size of 24 to 30 students in each class to ensure the observation of the social distancing protocol.
He added that each school day would have a duration of six hours with a 30 minute break which would be observed in the classrooms and lunch given to each student when school closes.
The Assistant Headmaster stressed that the provision of Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) by government and old students would sustain both students and staff of the school.
DzifaTetteh Tay, reports that second year students at the Ashaiman number Two, Three, Five and Six Junior High Schools (JHS) reported for class yesterday but many of them were not wearing their nose masks.
While some said they had it in their pockets and subsequently removed them to wear, others claimed they had left them under their desks in class while they moved about on the compound.
On studies, a pupil from the Ashaiman Number Three JHS, Emmanuela Braaku said some of their teachers had taken them through a revision of some Mathematics and English topics earlier in the day and was ready to learn as school has resumed.
Meanwhile, many pupils were seen loitering and others grouped for conversation without observing any social distance.
The second year students from the Ashaiman Senior High School under the Gold and Green Tracks also expressed mixed feelings about coming back to school.
Ms Ruth Sottie, a student from the Gold Track Home Economics Class said she had been hawking during the period school was on break due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
She said for people like her who have to work hard to provide most of their needs, staying at home for so long had not been an entirely bad thing but added that it felt good to be back in school.
Theresa Aduma-Okuffu of the SHS Two Home Economics Class reiterated her fear of contracting the disease.
Ken Afedzi, Tema reports that Form two students at Baatsona TMA Junior High School (JHS) in the Tema West Municipality that there was total non-compliance with the COVID-19 safety protocols.
A visit to the school by the reporter at 8:40 a.m, saw almost all students without nose masks awaiting distribution of the government’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to them.
However, about only 50 per cent of the JHS two students were present.
Prior to the distribution of the PPE to the students, they were taken through rigorous orientation on the strict adherence to the safety protocols including wearing of the nose masks, proper hand washing, use of hand sanitisers, social distancing and proper disposal of used tissue papers.
One of the teachers, name withheld, also feared that, the over excitement of the students could lead them to unconsciously disregard or overlook the safety protocols especially distancing themselves from one another, hugging and shaking of hands but were educated accordingly to ensure compliance.
At the Kotobabi No. 2 JHS, about 65 per cent of the students were in attendance with strict adherence to the safety protocols as each and every student was seen in a nose mask prior to the distribution of the government’s PPE.
Twenty-five students were allocated to each class with one desk per student to ensure distancing.
They were also taken through about 40 minutes education and pep talk on all the safety protocols and the need for constant consciousness of the disease.
All necessary PPE; nose masks, hand sanitisers, Veronica buckets, water and tissue papers were adequately provided in both schools and effective teaching and learning ready to start ( today Tuesday).
From Fijai, Clement Adzei Boye reports that SHSs in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis were set yesterday to welcome SHS 2 students and resume classes for the third term.
A visit to some schools including Takoradi High, Bompeh SHS and Fijai SHS generally indicated that the authorities had put in place measures including COVID-19 protocols to begin another academic programme.
At Bompeh SHS, the Ghanaian Times noted that at about 7am, Veronica buckets and hand sanitisers had been placed at the main gate for use by students and staff before they entered the campus. Meanwhile, classrooms were also being swept and cleaned ahead of classes.
At TADISCO, anxious students wearing face masks also trooped into campus to prepare for classes at 7:30am.
Similar preparations had been made at Fijai High where the campus had been prepared for classes to begin.
Meanwhile, enthusiastic JHS students from All Saints JHS, Bishop Essuah JHS, Presby JHS and Bethel JHS,were seen wearing nose masks while waiting at bus stops to be transported to their various destinations.
At the schools, COVD-19 protocols had also been put in place in compliance with government directives.
BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR, GLORIA NSIAH MINTAH & BENJAMIN ARCTON-TETTEY