The national discourse which is expected to follow President Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo-Addo’s tenth National Address on COVID-19, is actively on the lips of all and sundry as work places and homes have been turned into critical thinking platform on the reality of the novel coronavirus and the few restrictions that have been lifted by the president.
President Akuffo-Addo on Sunday, May 31, 2020 announced the phase-type of lifting of restrictions as he has for all these while, reminded Ghanaians that we have to learn to continue to live amid the pandemic.
President Akuffo-Addo in his speech to lift the restrictions imposed on educational and religious activities said “A consensus has emerged from these consultations that we should embark on a strategic, controlled, progressive, safe easing of restrictions to get our lives and economy back to normal. As I stated in my May Day address, a month ago, I am now in a position to outline the roadmap for easing safely the restriction. Ours is going to be phased approach, involving a selected list of public gatherings, based on their risk profile, socio-economic impact, and most importantly, our capacity to enforce and to respond, in the event of a flair up in our number of infections.
President Akuffo-Addo further said, “From Monday, 15th June, 2020, the decision has been taken, after engagement with Teacher Unions, whose co-operation I salute, to reopen schools and universities to allow for final year junior high, senior high and university students to resume classes ahead of the conduct of their respective exit examinations. Indeed, final year university students are to report to their universities on 15th June, final year senior high schools (SHS 3) students, together with SHS 2 Gold Track students, on 22nd June; and final year junior high school (JHS 3) students on 29th June. JHS 3 classes will comprise a maximum of thirty (30) students; and University lectures will take place with half the class sizes.”
Though the president Akuffo-Addo has outlined preventives measures the schools through their management bodies should uphold and practice, Angel Carbonu, president of National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) speaking on Citi FM’s Point Blank, eventhough was very adamant to the option of going back to school earlier said, he will go back to school conscious of the fact that COVID-19 exist and is real.
“We indicated that the virus is real and that before schools can be asked to reopen, we will have to put in place measures to prevent the spread or infection of the deadly COVID-19 diseasse” Mr Carbonu remarked.
He said, “So we are expecting that, now that the president announced opening of schools for final year students in Senior High Schools (SHS) and basic schools all those issues and things that have been factored will be in place before the students will go to school.
Mr Carbonu however called for more and further consultation between parents, teachers and government as the health of the students is of higher priority than going back to school
“The second issue is that parents are still apprehensive and we will hope that we allow parents to react to the reality based on their understanding,” adding “So parents should be allowed to take decision in the interest of their selves and the children”
He further quizzed about the actual details of the presidential decree that schools should be reopened.
“The Form 3 students as a matter of fact were about to start their practical exams, so are the students going back to school only to write exams or what? Because as a matter of fact, teaching has almost come to an end and examinations were about to begin [at the time of the closure of schools]”
All eyes will be looking out for the dates mentioned by President Akuffo Addo and the manifestation of the measures he stipulated since not all schools can afford the means to put all those mechanism in place for purposes of curbing the spread of the virus.