The Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNACOPS) is urging heads of all private schools to go about regular academic activities while taking health precautions in the face of the outbreak of the 2019 novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ghana.
The Council said the development calls for strengthened measures within schools to ensure that pupils and staff are protected from any possible case of coronavirus infection.
“Children are most susceptible to infections and communicable diseases and rightly so. It has been confirmed from statistics of countries that have been, to a greater extent affected with Coronavirus that a good number of children in those countries have been infected. It is, therefore, very imperative that we put in place measures to protect our pupils/children from any possible cases of infections,” GNACOPS said in their statement.
Among other things, the Council said the schools must avoid cases of overcrowding, especially in classrooms, dining halls and buses since such places easily promote the transfer of the disease from one person to the other.
“We must educate learners/children on the Coronavirus pandemic in ways that will not spark fear and panic, but rather to equip them with the requisite knowledge they need about the disease and how to protect themselves… We must provide enough Hand Washing bowls with soap and running water in our schools for the learners/children to have access for usage,” the statement added.
In addition to ensuring that pupils have sanitizers in their bags and use them often, GNACOPS said parents must closely observe their children and quickly seek help if they suspect any child of showing symptoms of the disease.
“We must admonish parents to kindly keep their children at home and seek medical help should they suspect any symptoms since the school is not mandated to give any medication to any child. We, therefore, wish to emphasise and encourage the entire private schools fraternity to go on with their normal duties of academic delivery until further notice from the leadership of the council.”
The Council said it is collaborating with the Ghana Health Service and the Ministry of Education on developments concerning the outbreak and is putting in place all relevant materials and equipment in place to stop the spread of the disease.
Two confirmed cases in Ghana
There are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ghana. The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu on Thursday, March 12, 2020 announced that the country had confirmed two imported cases.
The patients had returned from Norway and Turkey.
One of the patients was later disclosed as a top official of the Norwegian Embassy while the other is a Ghanaian staff of the United Nationals Development Programme (UNDP).
The Embassy and the UN offices in Accra have currently closed down as staff have been asked to self-quarantine.
The government has stepped up efforts to sensitize the public to observe safety precautions including regular handwashing under running water to avoid spreading the virus.
Schools closed down
Some international schools in Ghana including the Ghana International School have closed down as a safety measure to avoid the spread of the disease following news that the two cases in Ghana.
Universities such as the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the University Cape Coast have all issued statements spelling out precautionary measures for the university community.
Some of the precautions including banning of all public gatherings of people more than 100.