Officials of the National Schools Inspectorate Authority (NaSIA), last Friday, met with public and private schools to discuss the modalities for the reopening of schools for the new academic year.
The virtual engagement was one of the many measures the authority adopted to guide and support school owners on how to successfully and safely open their schools, in the midst of the spread of the COVID-19.
Speaking at the virtual engagement, the Executive Director/Inspector-General of Schools of NaSIA, Dr Hilda Ampadu, said the Authority was committed to health and safety during the start of the new academic year.
“We want to ensure that schools are equipped with the right information, amidst preparations for a safe physical re-opening, in order to reduce the risk of infections on school compounds,” she said.
She said it was very important for school owners to meticulously follow the COVID-19 guidelines on school reopening in order to keep learners, teachers and non-teaching staff safe and healthy.
“Our inspectors will go round to monitor schools in order to ensure that they adhere to all protocols,” she stated
“In order to allay the fears of parents, the management of schools must actively engage their parent teacher associations (PTAs) or parent forums to agree on ways they will work together to ensure the safety of learners,” she noted.
During an open forum, some of the major issues raised by school owners and management were, COVID-19 testing for all learners, approved distance in the arrangement of classroom furniture, transportation, temperature checks, operating school canteens and provision of face masks.
Others were how to handle younger learners and what to do if some learners tested positive for COVID-19.
All issues were addressed by the executive director, with the key advice being that all schools must ensure they know who the municipal director of health and the disease control officer in the municipality were.
They were advised to inform the Municipal Health Directorate immediately, should they get COVID-19 positive cases or suspect a positive case.
When that arose, health directorate would take over the case and apply the protocols, at no cost to the school.
Moreover, boarding houses were advised to keep temporary isolation units for suspected cases before the Municipal Health Directorate took over.
About 300 international curricular schools and private school owners participated in the virtual engagement and majority of them expressed satisfaction and appreciation for the steps NaSIA has taken to engage and support school owners as they prepared to welcome learners back to school.