Ghanaian students at all levels of education will now return to school as part of government’s strategic efforts to ease the COVID-19 induced restrictions on educational activities.
This was announced by President Akufo-Addo in his 21st Coronavirus update on Sunday, January 3, 2021.
Basic school students from Kindergarten (KG) to Junior High School (JHS) will resume their classroom activities from Friday, January 15, 2021.
Continuing Senior High School (SHS) students will go back to school on January 18, 2021.
However, first-year SHS students are expected to begin school on March 10, 2021.
Tertiary students will return to lecture halls from Saturday, January 9, 2021.
These dates were arrived at after government held discussions with various stakeholders within the sector to devise a comprehensive and detailed plan on the reopening of schools and the lessons drawn from the partial reopening of schools during the latter part of 2020.
“So, from 15th January, our children in kindergarten, primary and Junior High, in both private and public schools, will be back in school. All SHS 1 students will start classes from 10th March, with all students embarking on a single-track academic calendar. Their seniors in SHS 2 and SHS 3 will, however, return to school from 18th January. Students in universities and other tertiary institutions are to be in school from Saturday, 9th January,” President Akufo-Addo announced.
End of double-track
Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo has also announced the end of the double-track system for first and final year SHS students given what he said was the expansion of infrastructure in schools across the country.
“I must stress that SHS 3 students in all schools, like SHS 1 students, will no longer run the double-track system. The expansion of infrastructure at the various senior high schools, over the last three (3) years, has brought us to this favourable situation.”
“However, the double-track system will still be applicable to SHS 2 students in schools that are employing it. Students in universities and other tertiary institutions are to be in school from Saturday, 9th January,” he added.
Guidelines for resumption
According to the government, it will through the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service, ensure that all institutions, public and private, are fumigated and disinfected.
Schools and institutions, with their own hospitals and clinics, are to be equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment and have isolation centres to deal with any positive cases.
All other school and institutions, without their own clinics and hospitals, have been mapped to health facilities.
There will be, for now, no mass gatherings and no sporting activities. However, religious activities for students at school, under the new protocols, will be permitted.
Social distancing and the wearing of face masks must become the norm in our schools.
The requisite provisions have been made to ensure that students at all levels of the education ladder receive the minimum number of contact hours upon their return to school.
Closure of schools
Schools in the country remained closed since March 15, 2020, as part of the government’s measures to curtail the spread of the COVID-19.
Educational institutions were however reopened partially for final year students to complete their academic work and sit for their exit exams while continuing students complete their academic terms.
Ahead of this full resumption, many stakeholders and interest groups have advised government to ensure a seamless provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure a safe operationalization of the schools.