The Technical University’s Teachers Association of Ghana has backed calls for the government to conduct mass Covid-19 tests for students and staff of various schools across the country.
President of the Association, Michael Akurugu Brigandi says that such a move by the government will assure the school community of their safety as schools reopen for teaching and learning.
He believes that such an intervention will reduce the risk of Covid-19 spread in educational institutions as it is almost impossible to adhere to the protocol of social distancing in schools.
“No matter how we observe this social distancing and all that, there will be situations that will still trigger some kind of closeness among students and this can endanger the lives of the rest of students and staff as well. So if there is a system that will be put in place such that every student upon arrival is tested, that will help,” citinewsroom.com quotes him as saying.
On the matter of cost, Michael Brigandi said that it will be prudent for the government to bear the full cost of the tests.
“Government can bear the cost because it is the responsibility of government to keep all of us safe. Already the institutions are battling with lack of finances to undertake basic infrastructural development so if we are to add this to the woes of the institutions when their internally generated funds are dwindling, it will be difficult to do so. The government should take up that responsibility,” he added.
Earlier, the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) asked the government to conduct random COVID-19 testing in schools.
WACCBIP Director, Prof. Gordon Awandare, in an interview with UniversNews, explained that the random test will help the government monitor the Covid-19 situation among students.
“I think what we need to do is to monitor. I have personally advocated for random testing in the schools. Once you have reopened the schools and the protocols are emplaced, the only way you can monitor to know whether the protocols are effective is to do random testing of the children. So every week, you select children randomly and you have them tested so that if there is an outbreak we can detect it very early,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kumah Aboagye is not convinced that there is a need for the government to take such a step.
He holds that mass testing of persons does not in any way guarantee that they will be free from the virus.