GREENVILLE, Sinoe – As 12th graders across the country take the West African Secondary School Examinations this week, Sinoe’s county education officer is calling on all school authorities to ensure complete adherence to all health protocols set up by the Ministry of Health.
Speaking to The Bush Chicken in Greenville at the local Education Ministry office, Alphanso Karmoh emphasized that all testing centers across the county must ensure that anyone entering exam halls must wear face masks and observe social distancing at all sitting arrangements.
He said schools should also ensure that they make handwashing materials available at entrances.
Over 500 students in Sinoe who are taking the exams were supplied with face masks by the government through its partners, Karmoh said.
Combined, these measures are meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the county, he noted.
The Sinoe CEO did note some constraints that could pose challenges in enforcing social distancing – there were not enough teaching staff at various institutions in the county to assist in administering the tests and ensuring that students could be divided into smaller groups.
“Some classes are large, with over 200 students, and we need to split them so as to ensure social distancing and we don’t have many teachers,” Karmoh said, although he added that the Ministry of Education was working to address these issues soon.
At the Sinoe Multilateral High School, Principal Peter Lawrence told reporters that he was anticipating mass failures for his students because of the length of time they had been out of school due to COVID-19.
Lawrence noted that some students could not return to school for the test due to a variety of reasons. Some had migrated to other communities while some girls had become pregnant during the break, he said.
The principal also worried about the poor sanitary conditions at the school, including the lack of pipe-borne water, which made it difficult to have water supplied on a regular basis to the facility.
“After some time now, some of the bathrooms and latrines will be filthy due to lack of water, which will cause counter effects on the health of the students,” he said.
The more than 500 seniors taking the mandatory exams come from 11 schools, including 7 public and 4 private high schools.
Featured photo by Teahwleh Geeplay