Headmasters call for mass Covid-19 testing for SHS students before re-opening

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Senior High Schools across Ghana could become hot spots for the spread of the novel Coronavirus as the country race with time to ease restrictions.

The Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) has therefore proposed mass COVID-19 testing of students, teaching and non-teaching staff of Senior High Schools (SHSs) before they are re-opened.

The Conference says with such an exercise, students with the virus can easily be identified and isolated to prevent them from spreading it to others.

It added that given that most SHSs are confronted with challenges of crowding, innovative options can be explored to maintain the safety of schools.

The group is thus requesting that plans to reopen schools be done in stages beginning with final year students to ensure that SHSs do not become risk areas for contracting COVID-19.

The National President of CHASS, Alhaji Yacoub Abubakari, is quoted by Accra-based Citi FM as saying that when the schools are reopened “the students and teachers who are supposed to come to the schools should first be screened and their status known.”

“Those who are negative, they are welcome to come to school and those who are seen to be positive, immediately the necessary measures are taken to treat them. While the students are in school, we have also requested that certain things should be put in place to ensure the safety of the students,” he said.

“Schools, in general, have crowded situations so we have suggested that given the current situation that we are in with COVID-19 we should first of all start by allowing the final year students to come,” Alhaji Abubakar stressed.

Stakeholders have been sharply divided over a proposed plan by the Ghana Education Service to reopen schools in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools have remained closed since March 15, 2020 as part of the government’s announced measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

However, in the past week following the easing of other restrictions in the country, there are calls for schools to reopen.

Four Teacher unions; Ghana National Association of Teachers, National Association of Graduate Teachers, Tertiary Education Workers’ Union and Coalition of Concerned Teachers in a joint statement have registered their opposition to reopening soon, but the Council for private schools are pushing for the schools to be opened.

Among their reasons for the reopening of schools, is the financial challenges they are facing including having to lay-off teachers due to the challenges.

Source: Daily Mail GH with additional files from CNR

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