COVID-19: We can’t open schools if it’s not safe – Adutwum
A Deputy Minister of Education in-charge of Basic and Secondary Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum believes the reopening of schools should be delayed a little longer to ensure the safety of students in the wake of COVID-19.
Older students in China’s biggest cities and other countries in the world are starting to return to school, following the coronavirus outbreak.
Dr. Adutwum on Citi TV’s Point of View, however, advised against pressurizing government into taking a similar decision in Ghana.
The Deputy Minister said the closure was a safety measure devised by the government to prevent a spread of the virus in schools and should be in force until scientific data suggests otherwise.
“At this point, what I will say is that we all need to do our part to make sure the President and together with the country, win the fight against COVID-19. Everything we are saying here is not because someone does not want to do something. We are running this country and we are fighting this fight based on science and facts. If the environment is not safe for students to be in school, you cannot be in school.”
“It is not like during the military regime in our times when universities were closed for political reasons. That is when you could appeal to the government and say can you open the universities for us? It was a political decision. The safety of the students was not at stake. The lives of the students were not at stake. I do not want us to stampede those who are leading the fight but rather pray for them and ask them when the environment is safe, based on the data, based on the facts, based on the science, please tell us to go back to school and we will gladly do so. We should not be seen as saying can we go as if we are making independent decisions aside of COVID-19,” Dr. Adutwum explained.
Nana Addo’s directive
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo directed schools in the country to shut down effective Monday, March 16, 2020.
The President gave the order when he addressed the nation on Sunday, March 15, 2020.
“All Universities, Senior High Schools, and basic schools, i.e. public and private schools, will be closed Monday, 16th March 2020, till further notice. The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication, has been tasked to roll out distance learning programmes,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo, however, said students who will be taking part in this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) “will be allowed to attend school to prepare for their examinations, but with prescribed social distancing protocols.”
But this decision was later reviewed allowing such students to go home.