The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC), a civil society network championing the right to quality basic education for all children, has urged the government to ensure that all teachers undergo mandatory testing before going back to school.
A statement issued by the Interim Chair of GNECC, Joseph Atsu Homadzi, also encouraged stakeholders to liaise with the Ghana Health Service to provide mandatory temperature checks for students and teachers daily.
It said they must also ensure that school heads and teachers are trained on the use of infrared thermometers and enforcement of handwashing protocols as well as the use of hand sanitizers.
“Put appropriate measures in place to ensure full compliance with the recommended physical distancing measure of six feet between desks in small classes. Issue guidelines on teachers – student interactions while in school.”
Concerning the inter-sectoral approach, the statement called for the establishment of measures to rapidly communicate any detected case in schools to health officials in the locality.
It also advocated organizing a coordinated approach (per district) to ensure that the support from relevant sectors (Health, Gender, Children and Social Protection, Local Government) and other stakeholders are fairly distributed.
Concerning psychosocial support for students and parents, it called for the orientation of school heads and teachers to deliver psychosocial support and educate students on the health implications of the COVID-19 in addition to regular academic sessions.
“School heads and teachers should engage parents and students to understand their safety concerns and work with them before schools re-open. Resource Guidance and Counselling coordinators to provide counselling to prepare the mindset of the students when they return to school,” the statement said.
“Conduct training using radio, community information centres, and television on the use and disposal process for Personal Protective Equipment as part of continuous awareness on COVID-19 spread, symptoms, and prevention. Schools (public/private) with buses should observe social distancing as directed by the Ghana Health Service.”
Regarding monitoring and enforcement, it recommended the conduction of effective monitoring to ensure all safety protocols are observed accordingly.
It mentioned the enforcement sanctions for anyone found guilty of flouting guidelines on COVID-19 protocols.
The Coalition said it was available to discuss recommendations to cover short, medium, and long term actions that the Ghana Education Service could take, adding that the recommendations could be implemented across the country.
“We remain committed to supporting the Ministry of Education and its agencies in ensuring the delivery of quality education for every Ghanaian child.”