18th May 2024

Minister of Energy

The Ministry of Education has stated that mass testing of students, who are expected to resume classes ahead of their exit exams, is not the panacea to stopping the spread of COVID-19 among them as a positive test in the morning may not remain positive in the evening.

What is more important, according to the ministry, is to observe strict hygiene and social distancing protocols.

These were contained in a press statement signed by Vincent Ekow Assafuah, the Communications Director of the Ministry. The statement was a response to some issues raised by a former Deputy Education Minister, Okudzeto Ablakwa, on the government’s decision to reopen school to final year students to enable them write their exit exams.

Baseless comments

Mr Ablakwa in a Facebook post had questioned the government for not considering mass testing of all the students before being allowed to resume.

In his words, “it is dangerous and reckless not to make provision for mass testing of staff and students ahead of the reopening.”

He also wondered why parents would not be allowed to visit their wards in school when they resume, and also raised red flags about the decision to make it mandatory for some Day students to be in the boarding house throughout the 11 weeks they are going to be in school.

Responding, the ministry explained that the decision to place emphasis on strict adherence to hygiene and social distancing protocols was based on advice by the government’s health experts, and wondered the basis of the MP’s comments.

Visitors not allowed

On why parents would be disallowed from visiting their wards during the period, the statement noted that “exposing the children to the outside visits enhances the risk of infection, and parents are assured that it is both in their interest and those of their children/wards that visits are not allowed.”

It said the schools have been mapped to various health facilities in their communities and the necessary protocols will be activated when a child falls ill as has been the case.

Day students

The ministry further clarified that it is not the government’s position that students in strictly Day schools should be in the boarding house “as it is not possible due to the unavailability of facilities”, adding that such students are to proceed with the status quo of attending their schools as Day students.

Rather, boarding schools with Day students are those expected to house all the final year Day students and second year Gold Track students in their boarding facilities.

“Day students coming to boarding house for only eleven weeks before leaving school will not be required to conform to the school’s exhaustive prospectus list given to first year students.”

 

“In any event, most of them will have the basic items they use at home anyway. It is to be noted that parents will save on transport cost to and from school, and daily feeding costs”, the statement said.

 

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