The National Union of Ghanaian Students (NUGS) has called on the government to assign psychologists to final year students, especially those in schools who have recorded positive cases of COVID-19 before they start their examination next week.
According to them, due to the number of recorded in the schools, the students are not in their right state of mind to write the examination and therefore needs counselling.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra, the President of NUGS, Isaac Jay Hyde noted that it is aware that some schools have started recording cases including the Accra Girls SHS and others in the Western, Volta and Eastern Region after its reopening.
However, He noted that there is a serious lack of education about the COVID-19 infection as well as sensitisation of stigmatisation in the various schools.
He cited an example of the death of the KNUST SHS student who was neglected by the management of the school over the fear that he might have been infected by the coronavirus, attributing all to stigmatisation.
He, therefore, stated although a lot of stakeholders are calling for the shut down of schools, NUGS do not agree with the calls, saying that out of about 11,000 schools, it is only about 10 that have recorded the cases and therefore the schools should not be shut.
“The case of Accra Girls in indeed a worrying concern that demands an immediate investigation as to how the school became a COVID-19 hotbed. Psychological support should be paramount in addressing cases at schools with suspected cases,” he said.
Mr Hyde opined that it is dangerous for students to go home at this time because they could either spread the disease or contract it on their way home.
He, therefore, recommended that the government should charge the necessary agencies to engage in rigorous education and sensitisation of school authorities, teachers, lecturers, and students on stigmatisation and safety protocols as soon as possible.
He also called on the Ministry of Health in collaboration with GES to come up with protocols in addressing and managing COVID-19 outbreak on campuses.
“Institutions that record specific number of cases should be isolated, fumigated, mass tests run on students and students readmitted after clearance amidst heightened security,” he said.
He suggested that GES should make it mandatory that before the next academic year starts in September, every student is registered with the NHIS, to avert a situation where a parent would have to be called to come from home when a student is sick before the said student is taken to the hospital.
He added that all institutions must also have infirmaries or sick bays to provide the needed care in the campus.
For the voters’ registration exercise that is ongoing, Mr Hyde stated that if parents have been directed to stay off campuses, then politicians should not be allowed to go there.
He also asked the EC to extend the time so that students who were not able to register will do so.
“The NUGS recommend that the EC liaise with the Ghana Education Service to ensure that any registration centre that is set up on any of the campuses across the country observes strictly the safety protocols,” he said.