Final year Junior High School (JHS) students across the country have resumed academic work amidst strict adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols.
As part of the safety protocols, Veronica buckets for hand washing have been provided at vantage places at all schools visited by the Ghanaian Times in Accra, while both students and teachers were seen wearing masks and observing social distancing.
Schools visited at Okaikoi South included, Saint Theresa Catholic JHS, Kaneshie Bishop ‘1’ and ‘2’ JHS, Kaneshie Cluster of Schools, Kaneshie Methodist School, and the Reverend Thomas Clegg Methodist 1 JHS.
Speaking to the Ghanaian Times, the Headmistress of St Theresa Catholic JHS, ReverendSister Paula Nkansa-Okyere said that, attendance was impressive.
According to her, contrary to fears expressed by some parents prior to the re-opening, many students were accompanied by their parents to school yesterday.
She confirmed receipt of quantities of masks, hand sanitisers, tissues and some infrared thermometers.
She also explained that, classes were preceded with education and sensitisation on COVID-19 preventive measures by officials from the 37 Military Hospital.
In ensuring social distancing, students sat in classes in a group of 30 in all schools visited.
Particularly at the Saint Theresa Catholic JHS, names and numbers of students were pinned to their desks.
Students who spoke to the paper expressed happiness of returning to complete school, after staying home for a long time.
They said the wearing of masks, not shaking of hands and playing with friends, as well as not seeing friends from other classes made campus boring.
Although most students were adhering to social distancing protocols and wearing their masks after closing of school, it was observed that some students of the Kaneshie Cluster of Schools had removed their masks and put them in their pockets and bags.
From Amasaman Benedicta Gyimaah Folley reports that some schools in the Ga South and West were keenly adhering to the protocols.
When the Ghanaian Times got there around 10:30am, it observed that protective materials such as Veronica buckets, hand sanitisers and tissues were fully in place.
Some of the schools visited were Amasaman Municipal Assembly Basic School, Ashalaja and Kwame Anum Basic School.
Lawrence Vomafa-Akpalu reports that, the Municipal Chief Executive of Ayawaso West Municipality, Sandra Owusu-Ahenkorah expressed satisfaction after inspecting some schools in the area.
She urged the teachers to ensure the protection of pupils entrusted in their care to prevent them from contracting the COVID-19 disease.
Madam Owusu-Ahenkorah said the government had played its part by providing protective equipment and urged them to observe the safety protocols.
The Municipal Director of Education, Madam Margaret Kaba, also urged the pupils to observe the protocols.
She urged parents to ensure that their children eat at home before going to school and also provide at least a snack pack of any fruit to help boost their immune system against the virus.
Madam Kaba charged the parents to strictly supervise their children before and after school and also ensure that they do their homework.
From Tamale, Yakubu Abdul-Majeed reports that basic schools in the Northern Region yesterday reopened for the final years.
About 9:25am, scores of the final year students were in school.
At Lamashegu JHS few students and some teachers were seen on campus.
However there were some Veronica buckets stationed close to classrooms.
The few students and the teachers in the school were all wearing nose masks at the time of the Ghanaian Times visit.
From Kumasi, Faustina Kwabea Osei observed that the reopening of schools to pave way for the final year students to prepare for their final examination in the Ashanti Region was without hitches.
When the Ghanaian Times visited the Buokrom Methodist JHS at about 10:00am, most of the pupils had reported.
The school was also adhering to the COVID-19 safety protocols as pupils were seen wearing their nose masks with a change in seating arrangements.
Veronica buckets, tissues and sanitisers were provided to be used by the pupils.
At Prempeh Basic School near Sofoline, the Headmistress of the School, Mrs Barbara Budu disclosed that, out of the 65 final year pupils who were expected to report to school, 55 of them reported on the first day.
In all the schools visited by the Ghanaian Times, food vendors were nowhere to be seen on the premises as directed by the Ministry of Education.
From Koforidua, Ama Tekyiwaa Ampadu Agyeman said that final year pupils in the Eastern Region have returned to their various schools to complete their studies towards writing their final exams.
The Ghanaian Times visited some schools including the Presbyterian, Anglican, Roman Catholic Junior High Schools and Koforidua Vocational Institute among others, all at Koforidua.
Students were seen wearing their nose masks and were in high spirit.
Some headmistresses admitted to have taken delivery of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including thermometer guns, nose masks, hand sanitisers, toiletries etc.
The headmistress of Presbyterian JHS ‘C’, Reverend Constance Afrakomah, said she was impressed with the number of pupils who have returned revealing that the school management would sensitise the pupils on the safety protocols.
She called on parents to abide by all arrangements and urged them to support the government to prevent the pupils from contracting the coronavirus.
Some pupils of Presbyterian JHS ‘C’ promised to abide by the safety protocols to ensure their own safety.
From Ho, Alberto Mario Noretti reports that final year students returned to their campuses with great zeal and enthusiasm, while adhering strictly to the COVID-19 safety protocols.
At the Ho Quarters B Anglican JHS, for instance, classes were in progress vigorously when the Ghanaian Times visited the school at about 11.10 am.
The headmistress, Evelyn Seayor said that 45 children had reported, adding that “we are expecting 10 more.”
She told the Ghanaian Times that all the 20 members of staff had also reported for duty.
Miss Seayor said that the school had ample Veronica buckets, sanitisers, soaps and face masks to ensure compliance to the COVID-19 safety procedures.
According to the headmistress, the children were divided among three classrooms to enable them to space out widely.
She then conducted this reporter round the classrooms where every child wore a face mask.
Similarly, at the Ho Dome E.P. JHS, classes were in progress, with the students and teachers wearing face masks.
However, the headmistress would neither identify herself nor speak to the press.
Lydia Darlington Fordjour reports from Wa that schools in the Upper West Region resumed on Monday without Personal Protective Equipment and hand washing facilities.
None of the public JHSs visited by the Ghanaian Times in the morning of the reopening at Wa and Wa West districts respectively had hand washing facilities or face masks for teachers and students.
Few students and staff were spotted wearing personal face masks which were not provided to them by the government.
About half of the student population in most of the schools visited had not reported to school at about 10:42am when the Ghanaian Times toured the schools.
A teacher at the Dorimon Nyagli JHS in the Wa West District who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Ghanaian Times they were informed that some of the students had travelled to the Southern part of the country during the coronavirus (COVID-19) holidays to engage in economic activities.
Although teachers at the school had personal nose masks, none of the students who were mostly rural dwellers was seen in nose masks.
At the Tendamba JHS in the Wa Municipality, 23 out of 43 students had reported on the reopening day with only two in face masks provided to them by their parents.
The headmaster of the school, Mr Seidu Dong stated that they were expecting government’s PPE and hand washing facilities from the Education Directorate by the close of the day.
When contacted, the Regional Director for Education, Mr Godfrey Dongyeru said the PPE and hand washing facilities arrived in the region on Monday morning and were being offloaded at the time of the interview around 11:03am.
He announced that the distribution would commence immediately they were done with offloading the vehicle and assured the public that schools in Wa would receive their items by midday.
He stated however that distant Municipal and District assemblies would receive their items by Tuesday for onward distribution to the various schools.
Clement Adzei Boye, reports from the Western Region that preparations for final year JHS students in the Sekondi -Takoradi metropolis and Effia -Kwesimintsim municipality to resume classes ahead of this year’s BECE was disrupted by a heavy downpour.
The nine -hour intermittent rains, began at about 4.30am and disrupted classes which, according to government’s directives, were to start at 9am.
At about 8.15a.m, at the Kansaworodo JHS in the Effia municipality, there were no signs of preparations as students and teachers had not reported.
The situation was not different at the TIMBOD and Effia Methodist JHSs.
Earlier at about 9.25 am when the Ghanaian Times visited Gainsworth Preparatory, a private school at Anaji West, authorities had provided the necessary COVID-19 essentials including Veronica buckets, nose masks and hand sanitisers for students and classes were in session.
“We are fully prepared and set for the BECE exams,” a source added.
From Sunyani, Daniel Dzirasah reports that most basic schools in the Sunyani Municipality were observing the COVID-19 safety protocols with items such as Veronica buckets, sanitisers, antiseptics and tissues placed at vantage points in the schools.
The Ghanaian Times also observed that while some students and teachers were wearing their nose masks, others were without it.
Some of the schools visited were Ebenezer Methodist Junior High School, St. James Junior High School and Estate Experimental Junior High School.
The headmistress of St. James JHS, Ms Theresa Oppong Kyeremaa told this reporter that headteachers have been sensitised on the COVID-19 safety protocols.
According to her the Sunyani Municipal Directorate of Education had supplied the school with adequate PPE.
The headmistress of Estate Experimental who declined to mention her name also told the Ghanaian Times that they have taken delivery of part of the consignment donated by the Municipal Directorate of Education awaiting the rest.
She said both teachers and students were poised for teaching and learning.
BY FRANCIS NTOW