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Students must be tested for COVID-19 when schools reopen – Bono SHS heads

Some heads of second cycle institutions in the Bono Region have proposed to the central government to ensure that all students are tested for the coronavirus (COVID-19) when schools reopen.

In their opinion, such a move would help those infected by the virus to be isolated and treated.

The heads of senior high schools (SHSs) in the Bono Region made the suggestion during a fumigation exercise by Zoomlion Ghana Limited (ZGL). The exercise is a collaboration between Ghana Education Service and ZGL, and it is aimed at dealing with bed-bugs infestation in the schools.

The eight-day exercise began on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, and is expected to cover about sixty-four (64) SHS in the various districts across the region.

Some of the schools which were covered on the first included John Bosco Vocational Technical, Notre Dame SHS, Secret Heart SHS, Nsutre Vocational Institute, Brekum Presbyterian SHS and Brekum SHS.

Others were Methodist SHS, All For Christ SHS, Wamanafo Senior Technical High School, Mansen SHS, ST. Augustine’s Senior High, Berekum, Star Business SHS and Gyinigyini SHS.

The second day (Wednesday, May 15, 2020) saw schools including Our Lady of Providence SHS, Drobo SHS, Hidaaya Islamic SHS, Awasuman SHS, Nkrankwanta Community among others.

In an interview with the media, the Assistant Headmaster in-charge of Administration Mansen SHS, Oppong Takyi, indicated that testing students for COVID-19 will prevent the spread of the virus, especially as those infected will easily be identified and quarantined for treatment.

That, he further said, will not create fear and panic amongst the student body in the various SHSHs across the country.

He described the fumigation exercise as ‘timely,’ adding that it will help a great deal to rid the school of bed-bugs and their attendant health implications.

According to him, his school has had to battle with bed-bugs over the past years, albeit with little success.

“In our effort to deal with the bugs, the school sometimes engages people to spray its facilities. Unfortunately, this does not last long as in some cases just after two weeks of the exercise we are caught up again having to battle with bed-bugs,” the head of Mansen SHS said.

Against this backdrop, Mr Takyi commended Zoomlion and GES for the initiative.

He, however, made a fervent appeal for the exercise to be conducted frequently.

“I thank GES and Zoomlion for this exercise… and I am hopeful that it will bring the bed-bugs infestation in the school under control and also kill harmful insects which sometimes find their way to the school compound,” he expressed.

What is more, he said with the fumigation of the school, teaching and learning will be conducted in a conducive environment when the school re-opens.

For his part, the Headmaster of Wamanafo Secondary Technical High School, Thomas Asante Armstrong, who also shared in the suggestion of testing students when schools re-open, however, said his school was bedevilled with serious infrastructure issues.

He lamented that his school could not even boast of a staff common room for the tutors, revealing that “my teachers have been sitting under a tree and using the place as a staff common room.”

Furthermore, he disclosed that his school was grappling with the issue of congestion. This, he noted, was widespread in the classrooms and with the few dormitories that they have.

He, therefore, appealed to the ministry of education to come to their aid.

The Headmaster of St Augustine’s SHS, Berekum, Reverend Father Hubert Asante, was full of praise for GES and Zoomlion.

He called for the fumigation exercise to be done at least every three months, insisting that that will deal effectively with the issue of bed-bugs in the schools across the country.

The exercise saw classrooms, dining halls, dormitories, student mattresses, administration blocks, sick bays, staff members’ bungalows, etc., of the various schools fumigated.

It would be recalled that the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, in April this year launched a nationwide exercise to fumigate and disinfect all SHSs in the country in a bid to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus and also deal with bed-bugs infestation.

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