COVID-19: Close down schools – Minority to Akufo-Addo

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The Minority in Parliament has called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to prioritise the lives of final-year Senior High School and Junior High School students, who are currently in school to prepare for their final exams, by closing schools across the country.

The call by the Minority comes on the back of reports that six students of the Accra Girls’ Senior High School had tested positive for the deadly COVID-19.

Students of the school picketed this morning as part of their efforts to put pressure on the management to allow them to go home.

The anxious and fear-gripped students clustered and massed up at the schools’ premises waiting for their worried parents to come and convey them home.

Police officers stormed the school’s premises to restore calm.

The students, who gathered outside their classrooms, kept chanting: “We’ll go home.”

Speaking to CTV’s Fredalvis Agbenyo, a parent said: “I heard the news last night, so, I rushed here to find out what was happening…I’m anxious and scared and, so, we need the school authorities to tell us something”.

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.

In a statement issued by the Member of Parliament of Builsa South and Deputy Ranking Member of the Education Committee of Parliament, Dr Clement Apaak, the Minority said: “Our call, as a responsible Minority, is based on the fast-rising cases of COVID-19 in Ghana, which have crossed 20,000 cases so far. Indeed, various statements have been made by several individuals and institutions in our society over the motivation to continue to have senior high schools and junior high schools opened, albeit final-year students.”

The Minority noted that although the “government, through the President and other ministers, have made several statements that sought to assure the general public and to dampen their fears amid the deadly novel coronavirus, many have feared, rightly so, that the safety measures that were to be instituted ahead of the reopening of these schools were inadequate”.

“Soon after, the government made several promises of ensuring the provision of the needed infrastructure, including temperature guns, nose masks, hand washing buckets, sanitisers, among other things, while ensuring social distancing in these schools.”

The Minority further noted that it is of “the firmest conviction that, as a nation, we must not wait until it is too late to do anything. Our students need to be protected from the high risks of exposure. As can be seen, the Akufo-Addo government has failed to contain the virus.

“The mere rush to isolate by President Akufo-Addo, after he suspected to have been exposed to a positive case, tells how he has failed to assure us of a win over the virus. Who knows how many have come in contact with infected persons who may not know their status if our president with all at his disposal, could be exposed to such a risk?”

It also emphasised that: “It is time government reconsiders keeping our schools opened while we enter our rooms every day with prayer that no one gets infected. We also have a choice of reducing such high risk, by closing these schools for a much extended period until we are sure of having contained the virus which would reflect on our cases per day. In the last few days, Ghana recorded over 750 and over 690 cases per day. This does not provide any parent the comfort to assume the safety of their children.”

Read full statement below:

MINORITY STATEMENT – PRIORITISE THE LIVES OF OUR STUDENTS AS COVID 19 RISK INCREASES

The NDC Minority in Parliament hereby calls on President Akufo-Addo and his government to prioritise the lives of our students currently in school in light of the increased number of COVID-19 cases in our country as well as reported cases of infections recorded among students in some schools.

Our call as a responsible Minority, is based on the fast rising cases of COVID-19 in Ghana, which has crossed 20,000 cases so far. Indeed, various statements have been made by several individuals and institutions in our society over the motivation to continue to have Senior High schools and Junior High schools opened albeit final year students.

Government, through the President and other ministers, have made several statements that sought to assure the general public and to dampen their fears amid the deadly novel coronavirus. Many have feared, rightly so, that the safety measures that were to be instituted ahead of the reopening of these schools were inadequate.

Soon after, government made several promises of ensuring the provision of the needed infrastructure including; temperature guns, nose masks, hand washing buckets, sanitisers, among other things, while ensuring social distancing in these schools.

At the time President Akufo-Addo announced the easing of measures ahead of reopening these schools to allow the final year students take their exit exams, Ghana’s case count stood at 8,070. Since that announcement about a month ago, over 12,000 COVID-19 cases have been recorded, which gives a clear indication of the mass community spreading of the deadly virus.

The fears of Ghanaians and parents, in particular, have heightened after the Minister for Health, Hon. Kweku Agyemang Manu, the Minister for Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh and Minister for Regional Reorganisation, Hon. Dan Botwe tested positive for the virus, which led to the directives of the President, Akufo-Addo, suspending Cabinet meetings indefinitely, ostensibly to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Such is the deadly nature of the virus that from day one, we have been advised to observe some strict measures to be able to win the fight against the novel virus. As it stands, Ghana’s cases are on the rise, while efforts have been undertaken to engage in activities that will ruin all the safety measures we are advised to observe if the fight against this virus is to succeed.

Senior High schools opened just about two weeks ago. Ahead of the opening of schools, government announced commitments suppose

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