The National Council of Parent-Teacher Associations (NCPTAs) has said it is “premature to reopen schools” in Ghana in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to NCPTAs, there is no sufficient evidence based on science and data from the Ghana Health Service and other credible health agencies that the infection rate has taken a nosedive consistently to acceptable levels to warrant the reopening of schools.
The concerns of NCPTAs comes on the back of Ghana Education Service’s (GES) letter to teacher unions seeking their input for preparation toward the reopening of schools.
Sharing their concerns on whether or not schools should be reopened, NCPTAs in a statement noted that parents foresee a huge difficulty in ensuring strict compliance with the protocols among children, particularly the social-distancing, wearing of nose masks for long hours and getting results on time for the proposed regular testing before students move in and out of the school premises daily.
“Day students, both at basic and senior high schools (SHS) walk long distances to and from school in groups. These scenarios highly expose our students to the coronavirus,” NCPTAs said in its statement, adding that reopening schools “could rather endanger the irredeemable lives of our children, teachers, and other workers in our schools.”
The NCPTAs suggest the following:
1. Government through the ministry of education and GES should not be in a hurry to reopen schools in the wake of the pandemic assuming community spread.
2. It is our view that government gives itself a little more time to monitor the rate of infections up to say August or September to ascertain a continuous downward trend of infections before considering reopening, being mindful that the disease has not yet had any known cure.
3. Nonetheless the final year students could be treated differently should WAEC decide to conduct this year’s WASSCE and BECE examinations any time soon.
The NCPTAs believes that the “time is not ripe yet for schools to be reopened considering the huge student populations in their thousands across the schools. We think that the high concentration of people must be critically looked at taking a cue from the Tema factory infections.”
The NCPTAs insists that the decision to reopen schools must be based on clear science and data with parents’ input.