We’re better equipped to handle COVID in schools now: Nsiah Asare

The president’s special advisor reassures the public that health officials have superior knowledge now of how to handle COVID outbreaks as schools reopen

The presidential advisor on health, Dr Anthony Nsiah Asare, has assured the public that the Government of Ghana now has superior knowledge of how to handle COVID-19 in schools.

He was speaking after the resumption of academic activities for second-year students in junior and senior high schools across the country, effective from today, Monday 5 October.

Dr Nsiah Asare said adequate measures have been put in place which take account of experience gathered during the reopening of schools for final-year senior high school students who took their West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in June.

He was talking to Kojo Mensah, the host of The Asaase Breakfast Show, about measures the Ghana Health Service (GHS) is adopting to halt the coronavirus pandemic, as the country continues to experience a sharp decline in active cases of COVID-19.

Cue from Accra Girls’

“If you look at it, the timing for reopening school for final-year SHS was very short. But this time around we had six weeks to prepare. So all the teachers have been prepared, because they must know what they are supposed to do,” he said.

“We have also made sure that we have aligned every secondary school in the country to a hospital. We have improved on the sickbays, too, because of the experience we have had. And we know how to contain it in places where there is upsurge, due to our handling of cases at Accra Girls’ Senior High School recently, etc.”

Dr Asare allayed parents’ fears, arguing that the measures in place are robust enough to fast-track testing for COVID and release of test results.

“So, we are ready. Our response team is ready to move in wherever there is a problem. We have enough laboratories: we have a lot of laboratories that are testing about 14 [at a time] now, so we will be able to do the test and get the results within 24 to 48 hours for any child.

“I am appealing to all parents that they should rest assured that we will take care of their wards.”

PPE to spare

Effective today (5 October), second-year students from senior and junior high schools are returning to school, in line with a directive by the Ghana Education Service.

This is to enable the students to complete the third term and second semester respectively of the current academic year.

All the students have been provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure that they adhere strictly to all the COVID protocols and avert any spread of the viral disease.

Before Monday’s reopening, the government had carried out an exercise to fumigate and disinfect all schools across the country.

Fred Dzakpata

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