GREENVILLE, Sinoe – After at least four schools resumed academic activities for the primary school levels, Grand Gedeh’s county health officer says he has ordered all schools operating classes from 5th grade to kindergarten to close, in line with guidance from the Ministry of Education.
Dr. Augustine Fannieh, who is in charge of managing COVID-19 cases in Grand Gedeh, spoke with The Bush Chicken by phone where he said the Education Ministry’s recent decision to open schools was restricted to grades 6 to 12. The decision had come with consultation from the Health Ministry.
Fannieh said those schools that had opened at grade levels lower than the sixth grade were being unlawful, and his office had collaborated with the local Education Ministry office to shut them down.
“The decision was reached based on reports from the Joint monitoring team of the local education and Health offices”, Fannieh explained.
The county health officer said an Infections Prevention Control Team, in collaboration with the local education office, had also begun robust monitoring of all schools across the county to ensure that the ones sanctioned for opening were respecting health protocols.
Prior to the reopening of schools, Fannieh noted that the Incident Management System, which is coordinating the COVID-19 response in Grand Gedeh, had met with representatives of all schools in the county to educate them on how they could fully implement health protocols.
When contacted, the chief education officer of Grand Gedeh, Harry D. Doe, confirmed that actions taken by Fannieh were done in collaboration with his office.
Doe said one of the schools closed was operated by Betty Breeze Doh, Grand Gedeh’s assistant superintendent for development.
“We are doing that for the health and survival of our future generations,” Doe explained the decision.
In a follow-up conversation with Doh, the assistant superintendent, she said her school had not meant to violate protocols. Rather, she said students were simply coming to collect take-home lessons. Additionally, she said the students had been arranged to ensure physical distancing and handwashing materials had been placed at all entrances to the classes and the entire facilities.
“We don’t intend to disrespect the education and health Authorities, and this is for our own good, so we accepted to close down the school pending further information,” Doh added.
Schools operating grades 6 to 11 have resumed academic activities across the country and 12th graders are finishing their obligatory West African Senior Secondary School Examinations.
Grand Gedeh has recorded seven total COVID-19 cases, with six recoveries and no deaths.
Featured photo by Neil Brandvold/USAID