COVID-19: Churches, Schools to reopen – Akufo-Addo announces

COVID-19: Churches, Schools to reopen – Akufo-Addo announces

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced that Churches and schools for final year students will resume in June as part of measures to ease the restrictions introduced to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19.

Effective June 5, 2020, Churches can reopen with a maximum of 100 people under effective social distancing rules. Churches and Mosques must also not spend more than 1 hour during a service.

The measures were announced by the President during his 10th State of the Nation address. The President also stated that the measures are part of phase one of easing measures that will ensure that lives return to normalcy despite the increased number of COVID-19 cases.

Churches are also expected to disinfect and fumigate their premises regularly to ensure the safety of their congregants.

Final year students in universities are expected to resume schools and complete their final exams on Monday, June 15. Final students for SHS and JHS are also expected to resume school on Monday 22 June.

However, university schools can only take half the class sizes to ensure social distancing rules. Students and Teachers are also expected to wear face masks and with adequate hygienic conditions provided for all students.

“So, fellow Ghanaians, with effect from Friday, 5th June, we will begin Stage One of the process of easing restrictions.

“An abridged format for religious services can commence. Twenty-five per cent (25%) attendance, with a maximum number of one hundred (100) congregants, can worship at a time in church or at the mosque, with a mandatory one-metre rule of social distancing between congregants.  In addition to the mandatory wearing of masks for all persons at all times in churches and mosques, a register of names and contact details of all worshippers and handwashing facilities and sanitisers must be provided, with a maximum duration of one (1) hour for each service.

“Religious institutions that are desirous of opening their premises to their members, such as churches, mosques and others, must disinfect, fumigate and put in place the requisite logistics needed to guarantee safe opening and operation. They must work with the designated, regulatory bodies and undertake test runs of the protocols I have outlined. I would appeal to them, in the case of Christians, on the first Sunday of re-opening, i.e. 7th June, in the case of the Adventists, Saturday, 6th June, and in the case of Muslims, on the first Friday, i.e. Ṣalāt al-Jumuʿah on 5th June, to dedicate their worship to prayers for the nation in these challenging times. The Minister for Religious Affairs, will, tomorrow, Monday, 1st June, outline, in detail, the specific guidelines for the safe reopening of our churches and mosques.

“From Monday, 15th June 2020, the decision has been taken, after engagement with the Teacher Unions, whose co-operation I salute, to reopen schools and universities to allow for final-year junior high, senior high and university students to resume classes ahead of the conduct of their respective exit examinations. Indeed, final year university students are to report to their universities on 15th June; final year senior high school (SHS 3) students, together with SHS 2 Gold Track students, on 22nd June; and final-year junior high school (JHS 3) students on 29th June. JHS 3 classes will comprise a maximum of thirty (30) students; SHS classes a maximum of twenty-five (25) students, and University lectures will take place with half the class sizes.”

Funerals can now also be held with 100 people, while restaurants can operate in accordance with strict social distancing rules. Political activities except rallies can also resume but Ghana’s borders remain closed.

Ghana has so far recorded 8,070 of COVID-19 with 36 deaths. According to the President, the country must find a way to operate and cannot stay under restrictions forever.

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