News/ArticlesCOVID-19 Updates, SCEFWash Corona Virus Away – Back to School Edition

Wash Corona Virus Away – Back to School Edition

The effects of COVID-19 are fast becoming children rights crises across the world and Ghana is not an exception.

According to UNESCO, more than 1.5 billion students in 188 countries were out of school due to COVID-19 on April 8, representing over 91 percent of the world’s student population. The crisis has exposed vast disparities in countries’ emergency preparedness, internet access for children, and availability of learning materials. For many children, the COVID-19 crisis will mean limited or no education or falling further behind their peers. Children affected by school closures also miss the sense of stability and normalcy that schools provide. School closures may disproportionately affect children who already experience barriers accessing education, or who are at higher risk of being excluded for a variety of reasons. These include children with disabilities, students in remote locations, asylum seekers and refugees, children in street situations, and those whose families have lost income as a result of job cuts or precarious employment or are otherwise in a difficult situation. Many children from poor communities and homes depend on schools for meals and key health services and information. Nearly half of the world’s schoolchildren, some 310 million, have relied on their school for a daily meal.

In Ghana, the current COVID-19 infection counts have increased dramatically to over 22,822 infected people. However, about 17,654 people have been treated/recovered and about 129 deaths. That’s about 77% recovery rate. With such a high recovery rate and low death rate, the government deemed it safe enough to start the gradual reopening of public gatherings including schools and churches.

Schools have reopened with final year tertiary students reporting on the 15th of June, final year High school students on the 22nd of June and final year Junior High students on the 29th of June.

With schools reopened, there is a realistic chance that we might see an increase in cases among the students at the initial stages mostly due to inadequate hygiene facilities and PPEs. Some schools have already started complaining about the lack of handwashing facilities and PPEs and as such, have requested support from the government and organizations like ours.

It’s in view of the above reasons SCEF in collaboration with its partner, Send a Smile e.v has seen the need to step up our COVID-19 community initiatives by supplying Veronica bucket sets and some masks to the 8 schools that we work with as well as the ones that SCEF beneficiaries attend. About 14 SCEF scholarship recipients have reported back to school and, some schools that SCEF is currently working with have also reopened their doors for the first time in three months to these students.

We hope that by so doing, we are contributing to the fight against COVID-19 as we have done previously and continue to do. The goals of the initiative are;

1. Supply about 680 reusable face masks to be distributed to students who don’t have it.

2. Supply 32 branded Veronica bucket sets to the schools. Including; a bucket, bucket stand, rinsing bowl and liquid soap.

3. Supply 100 COVID-19 education stickers and write-ups for the schools to educate their students on the virus and how to keep themselves safe and reduce the spread.

To make the above goals practical, SCEF’s project officer Anthony Kojo Bosomtwe on the 8th July 2020 presented the following items to five clusters of public schools in Accra Metropolitan area :

1. 20 handwashing set: comprising veronica buckets, rising bowls, stands, and liquid soap)

2. 425 face masks

3. 60 educational stickers

The Items were shared according to the population of students in each school. The schools that benefit from this kind gesture are Accra Royal JHS, Bishop Girls JHS, Independence Avenue Cluster, John Wesley Methodist JHS, and Akotolante cluster of schools.

Speaking to the media, Kojo stated: “This kind gesture is meant to supplement the government’s effort in protecting students, teaching and non-teaching staff against the novel COVID-19. We hope that as final year students are back to the classroom to prepare for their final exams other well-meaning Ghanaians will be motivated by our action to also set up interventions in schools to keep our children safe and learning.”

The headteachers in receiving these items thanked SCEF and used the opportunity to invite more support from the general public.

Education indeed cannot wait!

Share this story to also motivate someone to act and fast to keep our children safe in schools during the new normal of COVID-19.