The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has renewed its calls for the closure of schools across the country as the cases of COVID-19 being recorded within the school environment continue to rise.
A statement from the party’s COVID-19 Technical Team says a reversal of the reopening of schools is the only indicator to express the government’s commitment of not endangering the lives of students and staff as promised.
It added that the government must conduct mass testing of the students before they are allowed to return to their homes.
“The lives of Ghanaian students, teachers and non-teaching staff should be valued equally and the government must take immediate steps to reverse its decision and to begin the process of returning students to their homes. This will necessarily include mass testing of students to ascertain their COVID-19 status before they are released to their parents to minimize the risk of exporting cases from campuses to communities.”
Additionally, the NDC is demanding an immediate postponement of the exit exams for both Junior High School (JHS) and Senior High School (SHS) students as has been done by other neighbouring countries.
“Kenya and Nigeria -acknowledge the public health risks-have already reversed similar decisions. Ghana should follow suit; extensive community spread, the failure to screen staff and students, and the mixing of students from various communities suggest the risk of infections in Senior High Schools is substantial. It is also recommended-as has been done in Nigeria -that the final exams be postponed until such a time as our public health system is resourced and responsive enough to provide a safe environment for the students”.
“Barring that, it will be necessary to explore digital solutions for the completion of the exams, bearing in mind and proactively accounting for the unequal access to internet services”, portions of the statement added.
EC registration exercises in schools
The NDC COVID-19 Technical Team also raised concerns with the Electoral Commission’s (EC) move to extend the voter registration exercise to second cycle institutions at a time when there is even an embargo on parental visits as a measure to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections.
This decision the team describes as an ‘ unacceptable additional risk’ to the existing public health and medical systems.
Moreso, the party cannot fathom why the government has as a matter of urgency, shut down a number of the state institutions over fears of COVID-19 infections but there is some level of adamance in closing down schools over similar issues.
“We urge the government to act expeditiously in this matter, as it ultimately bears moral responsibility for any COVID-19 infections on campuses and for any adverse outcomes for Ghanaian students, their families, and their teachers”, they concluded.