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General News of Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Source: Peace FM

Will final year students be frequently tested for coronavirus? - Nana Ofori Owusu to Akufo-Addo

Staunch member of the People's Progressive Party (PPP), Nana Ofori Owusu has asked President Nana Akufo-Addo to reconsider his decision for final year students to resume school in the wake of the novel Coronavirus.

Giving his eleventh nation address on COVID-19, President Akufo-Addo rehashed his directive for the schools to open stating "from tomorrow, Monday, 15th June, the last batch of institutions in this phased approach, our educational institutions, will begin to re-open, with final year students in our tertiary colleges and universities returning to school to prepare for and take their exit examinations. As has been stated, final year senior high school (SHS 3) students, together with SHS 2 Gold Track students, will resume on 22nd June; and final year junior high school (JHS 3) students, the week after, on 29th June. The decision to include our schools in phase one of the easing of restrictions was taken advisedly".

The President was optimistic about the measures adopted by his government and stakeholders in the education sector to safeguard the students and their teachers.

"Some argue that we are putting the lives of our students, teachers and non-teaching staff in danger by this re-opening, citing the examples of other countries, who have done so and recorded spikes in their infection case counts. I have stated, on several occasions, that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the resolution of this pandemic. We have our own unique situation in the country, and we have always taken that it into account in dealing with this disease, much as we are prepared to learn from the examples of others," he argued.

He also added that, as part of measures to prevent infections on the campuses, ''a total of six hundred thousand (600,000) face masks has been distributed to the tertiary institutions. This is to enable every student, teaching and non-teaching staff to have three (3) reusable face masks. In addition to this, one thousand seven hundred (1,700) Veronica buckets, two hundred thousand (200,000) litres of hand sanitisers, three thousand, four hundred (3,400) litres of liquid soap, and nine hundred (900) thermometer guns have been distributed, with the transportation and delivery of these items being overseen by the special logistics team of the Government Committee, chaired by the sagacious, experienced politician, the Senior Minister, Hon. Yaw Osafo Maafo, that is supervising the re-opening of the schools".

But Nana Ofori Owusu is not convinced by the President's efforts as he seeks to know if there will be frequent testing for the students and their teachers.

"Are we going to test them? How can we know those infected and are coming from their home? How can we know a supporting staff who cleans the place is infected from home? How can we the lecturer is infected? Where's the baseline statistics to show that as we have opened schools today, within two weeks, when we do another testing, we can understand that there's been a growth or reduction or we have contained it because the President says we can never know unless we test?" he questioned.

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