The reopening of schools brought with it so many concerns, especially for parents of toddlers whose major worry is that these children may easily get infected with the coronavirus considering their nature.
Unfortunately, some of these fears appear more evident and this has been confirmed by a head teacher of a pre-school in Accra.
Ruth, whose school (name withheld) houses children between 6 months to about 6 years says things are becoming increasingly difficult as far as the strict enforcement of COVID-19 protocols for her school’s pupils are concerned.
In an interview with GhanaWeb, she had this to say when the question of challenges she as a school owner was facing was posed at her.
“Our biggest challenge is with observing the protocols strictly. First of all, social distancing is out. We’ve tried to do the enforcement of nose masks.
“But that’s even with kids between age 3 to 6, those below that, it is not even working at all so we have an H2O humidifier. We don’t know how effective it is but that is what we use in the crèche class because they don’t wear face masks but like the older ones, they wear it for some time, till about lunch but when lunch is over and they take it off, and eat, when they have to wear it back, it becomes another difficulty.
“After the dining, it is one scream after the other; please wear your mask! Someone wears it and says ‘aunty there’s palm oil in my face mask’ and they’d want to change it, meanwhile, their parents only give one face mask. Some parents don’t even give face masks at all so sometimes we have to sell face masks for them to buy but it’s been difficult, I don’t know how long we’ll be able to contain it but humidifiers are very expensive so we are unable to acquire one for each class,” she explained.
Regardless she explained, all the protocols are observed before students are allowed entry into the school’s premises every morning.
Though some of these measures she explained are being adopted to ensure safety for both pupils and staff, she admitted that it was expensive and difficult.
“So, what we do is that right from the gate, their temperature is checked, they wash their hands, and with a permanent marker, the teacher writes their names or initials on their face masks and they are taken to class where sanitisers are used on their hands, and then almost after every subject, before they take their pens or text books, teacher sanitises.
So, during lunch, we try to do social distancing once the mask is not on.
When it’s time for lunch, we separate them, we don’t sit around the dining table like we used to. Now some stay in the class so that they can spread because during this time (lunch), they are not using the mask.
It’s having a toll on us too because things are becoming expensive and yet we have not been able to increase our fees. It’s been quite difficult for us and we know by grace we will go through and we will pass that hurdle,” she stated.
Meanwhile, Ruth is only hopeful that things get better and the virus is controlled.
With regards to COVID, it’s just the protocols we are able to observe for now but truth be told, I don’t know how long we will be able to go ahead with the protocols,” she said,
Adding, “We hope that in the next 3 months which will probably be the full term, things will get better but with regards with COVID-19, I’ll say again, we don’t know if we’ll be able to go according to the protocols fully.”