COVID-19 Hits Accra Girls SHS; 6 Students Down With Virus

Accra Girls School Accra Girls School

The decision to send the first batch of the Free Senior High School student back to the classroom to prepare for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) which starts from Monday, August 3 to Friday, September 4, 2020, in a COVID-19 period is turning out to be misplaced at least for the Accra Girls Senior High school.

Six students of the school have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and Citi News reports from its sources in the school that some students of the school showed symptoms of COVID-19 and were isolated in the school's sickbay on Monday, June 29, 2020.

President Akufo-Addo had assured all parents and guardians that his government was committed to protecting the lives of the 800,000 students, teachers and non-teaching staff, who will be returning to school for WASSCE.

"I will be the last person to put the lives of the 'Akufo-Addo graduates' at risk," he stressed, but that assurance is turning out to be a mirage. 

Health officials from the Ayawaso North Health directorate were called in to deal with the matter. COVID-19 tests were subsequently run on 11 students. Six of them tested positive and were on Saturday, July 4, sent to the Ga East Municipal Hospital for treatment.

Citi News reports further reports that calm has meanwhile, returned to the school after agitations over COVID-19 fears among the students.

Other reports are that some parents begun withdrawing their children from the school after the reports went viral.

According to some of the parents none of the students were tested when schools resumed and this, for them, is the genesis of the problem.

About six of the students who tested positive for the virus have been sent to the treatment centre.

Three days after Ghana recorded its first two cases of the novel coronavirus, President Akufo-Addo on March 15, 2020, directed the closure of schools at all levels to curb the spread of the virus.

But after almost 10 weeks of closure, final year Senior High Schools (SHS) students were asked by the President to return to school on Monday, June 22, whereas their counterparts in Junior High Schools (JHS) were to do same on Monday, June 29, to prepare for their final examinations.

Final year university students were also asked to resume on Monday, June 15.

All of these formed part of the phased easing of COVID-19 induced restrictions by the President.

Unfortunately, just a week after final year students in tertiary institutions returned to school, a National Service person at the Academic Department of the Accra Technical University tested positive for the disease.

The case is said to have been recorded on Monday, June 22, 2020; exactly a week after the tertiary institutions reopened.

Before and after the decision by the government to reopen schools, many guardians and individuals expressed worry with their wards being put at risk by having to go back to school.

Although there were several calls for the government to conduct mass testing of students, teachers and non-teaching staff to avoid the importation of the virus into the schools, it did not heed to these requests.

The Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), for example, proposed mass coronavirus testing of students and all staff before schools reopen.

The opposition New Democratic Congress (NDC) also suggested that all students, teaching and non-teaching staff be tested "to preempt any potential spread on secondary schools and university campuses".

Four Teacher unions; the Ghana National Association of Teachers, National Association of Graduate Teachers, Tertiary Education Workers' Union and Coalition of Concerned Teachers even registered their opposition to reopening schools.

The Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, himself is also down with the disease, was detained at the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) on June 24, 2020.

Source: The Herald