The Ghana Education Service (GES), has directed all educational institutions to suspend all public activities such as Speech and Prize Giving days, until further directives are given by the Director-General.
Meanwhile, the Management of the GES in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has developed educational materials on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease for onward distribution and use by all schools.
The directive which was issued in Accra and signed by Professor Kwesi Opoku-Amankwa, the Director-General, Ghana Education Service, urged all Regional and District Educational Directors to ensure that Heads of Schools made the materials readily available to staff and students.
It said Educational Directors were also expected to liaise with their respective Regional and District Health Directors to ensure smooth education campaigns in schools.
It said the comprehensive COVID-19 Guidelines and Administrative Procedures for Schools jointly developed by the GHS and the GES for public awareness campaign in all schools across the country, entailed an introduction and background to the new disease outbreak, including its origin, cause, and the various steps being taking to halt the spread.
The Guidelines also explained why people should be worried about COVID-19 , pointing out that the disease has currently attained a pandemic dimension because it was spreading faster than it had been anticipated by the World Health Orgainsation (WHO), from the onset, with high death rates, and it was important that people appreciated the situation and act responsibly.
The Guidelines described the mode of spread of COVID-19 and provided detailed education on the basic etiquettes such as covering of mouth when coughing, sneezing and spitting, and precautionary measures such as maintaining about two meters distance from an infected person.
It stressed on frequent handwashing with soap under running water or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers and desisting from touching face, eyes or mouth with contaminated, hands as some preventive measures.
It also emboldened the various signs and symptoms of the disease, which include fever and tiredness, running nose, cough, sore throat, muscle ache and breathing difficulties.
The GES, therefore, advised all schools to collaborate with their District Education Offices to among other things, identify and establish a line of communication with the nearest local or district health facility, and also a Point of Contact in these facilities for emergency medical response.
All school are also to have direct to the School Health Education Programme (SHEP) Coordinator in their districts, and immediately organise a meeting with parents, School Management Committees and other stakeholders to provide sensitization.
They were to keep large assemblies to a minimum and maintain social distancing, and in boarding schools, institute house-based health awareness meetings, where Hygiene education must be promoted and intensified.
The GES also advised Heads of schools to immediately refer all symptoms of COVID-19, to a health facility, with follow-ups on the test results by heads of schools, so they could swiftly inform their District Directors of Education for a detailed report on the incident.
The reports, it said, must contain the name of school, number of students in the school, in the class, teachers, history of patient’s contact in the school and additional information that would be helpful to the district office.
It said in case a person was confirmed to be infected with the disease, in a school or any education office, the flow of information shall be from the Heads of schools, or their designee to the district office.
The information should include the nature of the is tuition and the impact on students, staff and facility where applicable, however in the event the district received information of an outbreak in its jurisdiction, region or national, that may affect the school, such announcement must be made to the Head of the institutions of their designees.
The statement said these required close coordination with the GES Headquarters on the next steps, and that the Service would follow closely the advice of the GHS and use its best judgment on school closures, should it become necessary to do so in the interest of public health.