A non-governmental organization headquartered in the UK, Ghana Diaspora Women (GDW) has called on the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to shut down Senior High Schools that have reported cases of COVID-19.
The NGO has also suggested the cancellation of the upcoming Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) and the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) which has necessitated the reopening of schools to enable final year students to prepare.
Although schools were closed down across the country after the outbreak of the deadly virus, final-year Junior and Senior High School students were directed to return to school on Monday, 22 June 2020 to prepare for their final examinations.
Final-year university students were also directed to return to school on Monday, 5 June 2020.
Nine students of Mpraeso Senior High School in the Kwahu South District of the Eastern Region have been isolated over COVID-19 fears.
The school is awaiting results of tests conducted on them as they receive medical attention and management.
It follows the confirmation of eight cases at Accra Girls’ Senior High School which threw the student body and parents into pandemonium.
Subsequently, there have been reports of COVID-19 scares in other senior high schools across the country, just about a month after the President directed that they be opened for final-year students to go sit their exams.
A few days ago, a final-year student of KNUST SHS in Kumasi died on campus after bouts of vomiting and stomach issues.
The school authorities, according to the students, neglected their colleague out of fear of contracting COVID-19.
In a statement issued by the GDW and signed by its Founder Marie Amoakwa-Boadu on Thursday, 9 July 2020, the GDW reiterated that “COVID -19 is a continuous growing threat” to Ghana as a nation.
The group thus impressed upon “the relevant decision-makers” that is the Ministers of Education Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh and the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cynthia Mamle Morrison, “to make a swift decision to send children currently in schools back home ASAP or at least shut down schools which have reported positive cases of COVID-19.”
The GDW further noted that: “The six positive cases of students at Accra Girls Secondary School and the subsequent death at the KNUST SHS (due to alleged neglect of Covid-19 fears) is a serious matter of concern” to the group.
The GDW described these as “exceptionally consequential triggers of fear which will impact many of the children and could potentially prevent them from performing at their maximum capacity.”
It, therefore, urged “decision-makers to act promptly in matters of such nature and consider working promptly to shut down the schools again and if possible, cancel all exams for the year just as GCSE’s have been canceled in the UK for example.”