Students not at peace to study, close schools down – Minority

The Minority in Parliament is calling on government to close down schools again following reports that some Senior High School (SHS) students have contracted COVID-19 few weeks after academic work resumed.

Final year SHS and Form Two Gold Track students returned to school following the directive of President Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo that schools should reopen to final year students to enable them write their exit exams.

Schools were forced to close down following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

But as reports have emerged about students at the Accra Girls SHS testing positive for coronavirus, the Minority says government must take a second look at the decision because students are scared and do not have the peace of mind to study for the exams.

Member of Parliament for Builsa South and Deputy Ranking Member on the Education Committee of Parliament, Clement Apaak speaking on Eyewitness News said government has failed to protect students and thus schools should be closed down again.

“The Minority caucus in Parliament totally agrees with NAGRAT’s position. We had earlier issued a statement and, in that statement, we made it very clear that because of the exponential rise in the case count vis-à-vis reports about these students now becoming infected with the disease and juxtaposing that with government’s absolute failure in putting in place the mechanisms and breaching the promises that it made to ensure that students remain safe on campus, there can only be one conclusion– the students must go home. Parents need to have their wards because the state has failed to provide the needed safety measures to ensure that they have the peace of mind to be able to study and to write their final exams so there is no need keeping them in school when the dangers are so obvious, clear and present.”

On Monday, July 06, 2020, parents stormed the Accra Girls Senior High School to pick up their wards after six students tested positive for the disease.

A joint statement released by the Ghana Education Service and Ghana Health Service confirmed the cases, adding that a teacher and his spouse had also tested positive.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) has said that their calls for government to refrain from reopening schools have been vindicated by the developments at the Accra Girls Senior High School.

NAGRAT and other bodies are on record to have advised against the reopening of schools, saying that it will lead to a spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, President of NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu said the current development at Accra Girls SHS raises fears of what might be going on in other schools as well.

“It sounds like what we foresaw is, unfortunately, coming to bear. The fact of the matter is that Accra Girls is not the only Senior High School in this country, they do not operate in isolation and the students do not come from isolated geographical entities so only God knows what the situation may be in other Senior High Schools.”

He also called on government to close down schools again before the situation gets out of control.

“From where I sit now, before we get to a point where we cannot control, I think we should bite the bullet and close down the schools. That is my personal opinion. The way things are going, I can assure you the story is not looking too pleasant.”

Ghana’s COVID-19 case count, according to figures from the Ghana Health Service on July 07, 2020, rose to 21,968 after 891 new infections were detected in 73 districts.

Clinical recoveries/discharges are up to 17,156 with the death count standing at 129.

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