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COVID 19: Private schools in readiness to reopen with safety measures

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Members of Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS) are preparing to host their final year students as their schools prepare them for their impending exit examinations.

The authorities will employ various safety measures such as reduction in contact hours and strict adherence to COVID-19 safety measures aimed at adequately safeguarding the safety of the students, teaching and non-teaching staff.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his 10th National Address to update citizens on the enhanced response to the Coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, 31st May, announced the reopening for finalists from basic to tertiary schools to enable them to complete their programmes.

When the Ghana News Agency visited some of the private schools to find out the level of their preparedness, Mr Evans Opoku Gyimah, the Director of His Majesty Academy Dansoman, Sahara, said the school has instituted various health measures prior to the announcement by the President.

He said the school, with a total of 110 final year students, has redesigned its time-table to ensure maximum contact hours of four hours a day – from 0900 to 13 hours – because the school wanted to avoid its regular canteen activities.

Mr Gyimah said parents would be notified to ensure that their wards ate some meals before reporting to school to reduce the contacts they would have otherwise made with their colleagues during meal times.

He said the Management is working to ensure a reduction in the number of persons on campus at a time by allowing teachers to only be on campus only when they had lessons after which they would immediately leave.

The key principles being employed by the school, he said, were monitoring, supervising, ensuring absolute discipline among the students and staff members towards compliance to safety protocols.

Mr Gyimah said the school would also complement supplies, such as veronica buckets and hand sanitizers, provided by the Government; and this is besides the periodic disinfection of the school.

Mr Kyei Baffuor, the Assistant Director of Ideal College, which has 500 final-year students, told the GNA that its contact hours would now be 0800 hours to 1400hours, instead of 0700hours – 1700hours.

With 50 classrooms, he said, it was much easier to ensure social distancing, therefore, a class, which used to take 70 students, would now take 30 students for a sitting; while a class with the capacity for 40 students would half the population.

Mr Baffuor, who is also the Public Relations Officer for the GNAPS, said the limit has been set to ensure that there would be enough space among students.

The students have now been grouped according to their Elective programmes to reduce movements among them.

Mr Albright Ansah, Head of Conference of Heads of Private Second-Cycle Schools (CHOPSS), in an interview with the GNA, said measures such as the provision of three veronica buckets at every dormitory, are to be put in place to ensure effective handwashing by students.

Mr Ansah, who is also the Headmaster of the Ghana College Secondary Technical School, with a total of 212 (51 from the Secondary Department and 161 from the Technical Department), said there would be a thorough daily sanitizing of school facilities to prevent the transmission of the virus.

The number of staff may be increased when necessary, he said.

Mr Ansah said the students would be divided into batches to ease congestion at the dining halls – instead of 12 at a table it would be a maximum of six; and male students would also be separated from the females to prevent distractions.

He said the School, which was a Centre for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination – Technical, has put in place all the requisite measures and it has benefited from Government’s disinfection exercise.

Source: GNA

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