President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

The government has set up a committee to investigate health-related cases in all Senior High Schools across the country.

This followed reports of COVID-19 infections in schools and the death of a final-year student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Senior High School from health complications and alleged negligence.

Minister for Information Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah who announced this at a media briefing in Accra yesterday, said the committee is to monitor schools over the next eight weeks as Senior High School students prepare for the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE).

Schools reopened on June 22 for SHS final year students and Gold Track SHS 2 students after they were initially shut down for COVID-19 fears and safety concerns.

Information Mr Oppong Nkrumah, said the committee will also “oversee the operations of the regional monitoring teams which are already in place across the various regions.

“The president has tasked a subcommittee of the COVID-19 Presidential taskforce to be set up to quickly address challenges that may arise in the next eight weeks while final year students are in school.”

The committee, according to Mr Oppong Nkrumah, is to also “ensure that guidelines of campus quarantine are strictly enforced and any gaps swiftly addressed where incidents are suspected.”

Anxious parents

Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister for Information

The Information Minister gave assurance to anxious parents that COVID-19 information centre was being given additional persons to cater to them.

Government set up the 311 mainly to serve as a helpline for reporting suspected cases and receiving feedback from health workers.

“So if you are a parent and you are reading a story online and you are hearing something, we encourage you to call 311 from tomorrow. Dedicated officers are being put there to help connect parents to the schools to validate whether some of the reports are true,” Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said.

This, he explained, is to discourage parents from gathering at schools as was the case at Accra Girls Senior High School after reports of COVID-19 infection.

Accra Girls SHS, Konongo Wesley SHS and Mfanstiman Girls SHS are among the schools with confirmed cases of the virus.

Possible shutdown

The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) has expressed concerns about the increasing negative reports and expects schools to shut down if the situation does not improve.

In a statement, the group warned that the shutdown of the schools “will be inevitable” on the current trajectory.

It said “chaotic incidences” were putting students “in great fear and danger”.

Meanwhile, the President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Mr Angel Carbonu, has called on government to shut down schools before the situation worsens.

“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,” he said.