The Ghana Education Service (GES) has released an official guideline for the reopening of schools in June for final year Junior High School students, Form 2 Gold SHS Students as well as Candidates of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
The fundamental principles to ensure that the GES keeps students, teaching and non-teaching staff safe at school and help stop the spread of this disease are:
The Sick Stay Home – Students, teachers, and other staff who are sick of feel sick should not come to school.
Enhanced Hygiene Protocols – Schools should enforce regular handwashing with soap under running water, the use of alcohol rub/hand sanitizer and regular daily disinfection and cleaning of the school surfaces.
Face Masking – Schools should enforce the wearing of face mask by all students and staff at all times.
Social Distancing Protocols – Schools should promote social distancing to include the splitting of classes, limit on large gatherings, dining in batches, restrictions on sporting activities, etc.
Disinfection – All educational institutions in the country, public and private are to be disinfected prior to the arrival of students. Responsible and accountable officers at the Regional, District and School level should ensure that their facilities are disinfected.
Coordination between the different levels (Regional, District, and School) must ensure that no school is overlooked. For the purpose of effective response to ensure schools are disinfected, the Regional Directors are to be responsible and accountable offers within each region to ensure that every school is disinfected.
Provision of WASH facilities – All educational institutions, public and private, are to be provided with a determined set of Veronica Buckets, soap, and hand sanitizers which is being coordinated by the Regional Directors of Education.
Heads of all educational institutions are to ensure that they liaise closely with their respective District Directors and Regional Directors of Education.
Provision of Facemasks – All returning students, teaching and non-teaching staff are to be provided with a set of 3 washable and reusable Facemasks which is to be warned at all times to, during and from school.
Mapping of all schools to health facilities – All educational institutions are to be mapped to health facilities. Heads of educational institutions are to liaise with their respective District Directors of Education who are to work hand-in-hand with the District Health Directorates to complete the mapping process where it has not been completed.
Each Head of School is to ensure that they establish their direct emergency protocols with their health institutions including the assignment of a healthcare professional to each educational institution.
Splitting of Classes – As part of ensuring that schools observe the social distancing protocols, heads of schools must fundamentally adhere to the splitting of all existing returning classes to ensure that at the Senior High School level, no class is larger than 25 students and at the Junior High School level, no class is larger than 30 students.
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Heads of Schools are to use the additional empty classrooms that are available because of the other classes of students who are not to return to school during the initial phase of reopening.
No mass gathering – During this period and in accordance with the social distancing protocols, there should be no mass gatherings in school.
This means that assembly and other large group activities should be limited to the classrooms and to the approved class sizes.
Boarding schools should ensure that boarding is organized in batches to reduce overcrowding and promote social distancing. As a general rule, the dining table that take 12 students normally should reduce its seating capacity to 6 students, and tables that normally take 10 students should reduce its seating capacity to 5 students.
No sports and sporting events – Sporting events and activities are suspended during the initial phase of reopening. No school, district, regional or national level sports are to be organized or attended during this period.
Schools not available for outside groups – During this phase of reopening and until further notice, schools are not available for outside groups to organize meetings or activities on school premises.
For the avoidance of doubt, in-school religious activities may continue by following the same social distancing protocols.
No visitors allowed (Boarding schools) – During the first phase of re-opening, visitors will not be allowed on to boarding school campus as a measure to reduce and prevent exposure of students. During the period that students are in school, the existing protocols for communicating with wards will continue to exist to allow parents and guardians access.
Monitor school attendance – Implement an enhanced school absenteeism monitoring system to track both student and staff attendance and compare against usual absenteeism patterns at the school.
Alert local health authorities about large increases in student and staff absenteeism due to respiratory illnesses. Accurate data on attendance will help health authorities’ deal with any possible or suspected spike in the disease.
The full Guidelines can be downloaded HERE
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