The Co – Founder of the Golden Sunbeam International School, Adenta in Accra, Mrs Monica Ohene Opare has urged parents to consciously take more interest in safety protocols that have been implemented in various schools, where their kids attend, to curb the spread of COVID-19.
According to the veteran educationist, the only way Parents can be certain that their wards will be safe when they return to classrooms is by visiting campuses and personally inspecting COVID-19 prevention measures that have been put in place.
In an interview a day after an Open Day was held for parents with wards in her school on Monday, January 21, 2020, Mrs Opare said it was worrying that less than 50 per cent of guardians reported on the campus to inspect the innovative, technology driven preventive COVID-19 measures that have been instituted by the school to make the learning environment safe for both Students and Teachers.
She mentioned that teaching and learning at Golden Sunbeam was not greatly affected when schools were shut down 10 months ago because the school had already adopted an online teaching programme in 2015.
Mrs Opare added that the success of their online teaching programme, which requires each student to possess an educational electronic tablet has resulted in many parents being apprehensive about their kids returning to school as the COVID-19 active case count increases in the country.
“What the parents are saying is, if we are teaching online and their children are being assessed why are we re-opening? Government and the GES have directed that schools be re-opened and as patriotic citizens, we must all take steps to ensure that our places of learning and work do not become transmission points.
“We all have genuine concerns about COVID-19 and I understand the parents but what we are saying is that our (Golden Sunbeam’s) doors are open and parents should come and see for themselves the steps we have taken to ensure that their wards are safe.
She said the School’s COVID-19 preventive strategy is guided by the Ghana Education Service and the US Centre for Disease Control guidelines for re-opening schools.
She said the Directors of the school, some of whom are based in the US, have invested over US$100,000 to make the campus very safe.
She stated that the school has invested in automatic water taps, face masks, a disinfection chamber fitted with an infrared temperature gun, an isolation area and water dispensers.
Additionally, the school has reduced class sizes to a maximum of 15 in a class to enhance social distancing as well as hourly disinfection of classrooms. The school is also providing hot lunches to all students.
“If I don’t do it (COVID-19 prevention measures) and something happens, I cannot stop blaming myself. We are trying to prevent any opportunity where children will have to share anything. So we say no water bottles, no food because these will be provided by us in disposable cups and packages”.
She said the school was also experimenting with a system that will see students having books and other educational materials that will be used exclusively on campus and others that will be used at home.
A Junior High School student at the school, Eunice Mettle-Nunoo said although she was initially apprehensive about returning to school, she now feels safer.
“COVID-19 is a very deadly disease that is killing people and due to COVID some measures have been put in place such as social distancing, wearing masks and not sharing tools.
“Our campus is now very different from 10 months ago and feels safer, we have a lot of sinks, sanitisers and cleaning booths around and the teachers also ensure that we keep our masks on at all times”.