President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the government has put in place adequate measures to protect students, teaching and non-teaching staff in the various senior high schools from the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic.
He said measures have been put in place to ensure that students and teachers adhere strictly to enhanced personal hygiene and social distancing protocols to prevent an outbreak of the COVID-19 in the schools.
Final year SHS students and SHS 2 Gold Track students resumed academic activities yesterday to prepare for their final examination after a three-month break due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SHS 3 students will be in school for a total of six weeks before sitting for the WASSCE exams over a period of two 2 weeks. SHS 2 Gold Track students, who are returning to complete their first semester like their Green Track colleagues have done, will be in school for six weeks, before going on vacation.
President Akufo-Addo, in an address on the COVID 19 situation in the country last Sunday night entreated all students, teaching and non-teaching staff to wash their hands regularly with soap under running water and refrain from shaking hands, wear face masks and protect themselves and others.
“All 1,167 senior high schools in the country have been fumigated and disinfected. Each student, teaching and non-teaching staff, invigilator and school administrator, numbering some 800,000 will be provided with three pieces of reusable face masks, that is two being provided tomorrow, and the third within a fortnight”.
“A total of 18,000 Veronica buckets, 800,000 pieces of two hundred millilitre sanitisers, 36,000 rolls of tissue paper, 36,000 gallons of liquid soap, and 7,200 thermometer guns have been distributed,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said a maximum of twenty-five students will be permitted in each class and added that all day students in schools with boarding houses will be resident in the boarding houses, whilst day students in schools without boarding facilities will commute from home, and will be required to adhere to enhanced hygiene protocols.
Eating in dining halls will be in appropriate numbers; and no visitors to the schools will be allowed, he said and noted that mass gatherings or sporting activities will be prohibited in the schools.
“Religious activities, under the new protocols, will be permitted. Social distancing and the wearing of face masks are obligatory in our schools.”
“One dormitory block in each senior high school is to be used as an isolation centre, in the event of a student falling sick. Again, each SHS has been mapped to a health facility, and care will be provided to the sick by nurses assigned to these schools,” he said.
Through the National Food and Buffer Stock Company, he said enough food supplies have been distributed to all schools.
Government is also making available 350 buses and 840 pickup vehicles to senior high schools that did not receive vehicles in 2016, he said.
President Akufo-Addo announced plans by the government to absorb the WASSCE examination fees of the 313,837 SHS 3 students who will sit for the exam at a total cost of GH¢75.4 million.
“These SHS 3 students, also referred to by some as the ‘Akufo-Addo graduates’, are the first group of beneficiaries of government’s Free Senior High School policy to sit the WASSCE exams. 1.2 million children, the highest such enrolment in our nation’s history, because of this policy, are currently in senior high schools,” he said
By Yaw Kyei