Minority calls for COVID-19 testing for schools

Deputy Ranking Member of the Education Committee in Parliament Clement Apaak is calling for testing of students in schools infected with coronavirus a few weeks after they reopened for academic work.

Dr Apaak said some of them must be closed down.

He also questioned why the Government is insisting on final year Junior High School and Senior High School students to write their exams under such “terrifying conditions” “when they are not in the right frame of mind.”

“The conditions in the schools do not augur well for effective teaching and learning,” Dr Apaak said.

Speaking at the press conference at Parliament House he said his call follows reports that about six students at the Accra Girls SHS have tested positive for COVID-19 and the death of one student at the KNUST SHS in Kumasi.

President Nana Akufo-Addo in his address to the nation some few weeks ago directed that the final year SHS and Form Two Gold Track as well as final year JHS students should return to school to write their exit exams.

The schools had been forced to close down following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Dr Apaak also stated that reasons government gave for the reopening of the schools was to prepare the students to take their final exams, given that at the time the schools were reopened the case count for COVID-19 was only about 12,000.

He said the current count is more than 20,000 adding that the motive for which the schools were reopened schools cannot be achieved.

He said the students and teachers are not in a good frame of mind and if for nothing at all, “how do you expect the students to study under these conditions and to write exams?

Dr Apaak also wondered why the government was insistent on keeping the students on the various campuses when people are aware that the pandemic has reached the schools.

He argued that if the cabinet can be suspended for two weeks in a roll because there is suspicion that the virus is present among high government officials, the same can be applied to schools affected by the virus.

He cited instances like Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, Minister for Health; Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Education; Mr Dan Botwe, Minister for Regional Reorganization; and President Nana Akufo Addo, who is in isolation for fourteen days.

“So why on keep the students on campus when they are aware that some of their colleagues have tested positive for the virus.

“Don’t they also deserve the same attention the high government officials are getting? That is why the parents are demanding their wards because they feel the state has failed to protect them.”

He said there was evidence that some schools only received their PPEs this week, fumigation for some schools took place when students have reported to campus, while other students were on campus for days before they were supplied with PPEs.

Dr Apaak indicated that one of the requests by stakeholders including the Minority at the time was for Government to test the students, teaching, and non-teaching staff before allowing them to return to school.

He said government however turned a deaf ear to their request and went ahead and reopened the schools.

“Lo and behold, people are now seeing the consequences,” he exclaimed.

Source: GNA

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