President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Sunday announced the return of pupils and students to school, nine months after schools closed to curb coronavirus pandemic last March.
From January 15, 2021, Kindergarten, Primary and Junior High School students, in both private and public schools will return to the classrooms.
Senior High School students, except those in SHS 1, will return to school on January 18, 2021. All SHS 1 students will start classes on March 10, 2021.
Students in universities and other tertiary institutions are to be in school from Saturday, January 9, 2021.
In a televised national address to give an update on measures being adopted by government to curb the spread of COVID-19, President Akufo-Addo said the decision to open schools was the result of extensive and detailed consultations with all role-players in the health and educational sectors.
He said the lessons drawn from the reopening of some sections of educational institutions in the course of last year, the fact that Ghana’s active coronavirus cases had reduced significantly, and with no record of the new variant of the disease, puts the country in a much better position to reopen schools.
“Our children must go to school, albeit safely, and we are satisfied that, in the current circumstances, the re-opening of our schools is safe,” he stated.
The President stressed however that the Ghana Health Service, with the support of relevant institutions, would monitor events closely, and would advise Government accordingly.
But, the set protocols on enhanced hygiene and social distancing, mask wearing, must be observed to the letter.
Prior to the return of students to school, President Akufo-Addo said the Government, through the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service, would ensure that all institutions, public and private, are fumigated and disinfected.
He said schools and institutions, with their own hospitals and clinics, would 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,” he stressed.
The President stated that requisite provisions had been made to ensure that students at all levels of the education ladder received the minimum number of contact hours upon their return to school.
He disclosed that as was done in the limited opening of some schools last year, the Education ministry would provide face masks, Veronica buckets, hand sanitisers, liquid soap, rolls of tissue paper, and thermometer guns.
Also, the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Education Service would from Monday, January 4, 2021, commence a series of sensitisation campaigns to help prepare, inform and educate guardians, students and the public on further modalities associated with the re-openings.
President Akufo-Addo assured parents and guardians that the Government “is determined to protect the lives of all students, teachers and non-teaching staff, who will be returning to school.”
“It bears repeating that everyone of them must adhere strictly to the protocols to protect themselves and others,” he reiterated.
As at 1st January, the number of active cases in Ghana stood at 879 cases, with 54,005recoveries, 18 severely ill but no critical cases.
So far, 674,812 tests have been conducted, with 55,220 positive cases detected, and 336 deaths recorded.