Friday, October 30

COVID-19 and the partial reopening of Schools

Dr. Issah Imoro, Ghanaian Optometrist

It is difficult commenting on the subject of the reopened schools because one may be wrongly interpreted as being insensitive to the concern of parents for the health of their kids in the reopened schools.

However, with a continuous exploitation of the subject for political reasons by the opposition and “neutrals” wishing to impose their reasoning which they often describe as “common sense” on the masses, I deem it necessary to also freely express my opinion on this matter.

First of all, if there is anything CERTAIN about COVID – 19 other than it being real, then it is the UNCERTAINTY that the world is faced with about the disease after battling it for the entirety of the first half of the year (2020).

This fact will not be difficult to discern for someone who has carefully monitored the events relating to the disease. From initial SCIENTIFIC assessments that the virus could not be transmitted between humans, then to EXPERT advice not to wear masks, then to a dismissal of a possibility of air transmission and finally to a complete reversal of these expert opinions point to how this pandemic poses a great deal of uncertainty. 

As it stands, there is no certainty that a vaccine will be ready anytime soon and if ready whether it can immediately curb an anticipated “second wave” of the pandemic which in itself is an uncertainty.

I have mentioned all these not to cast despair into my readers nor cause them to exhibit lax with safety precautions but to draw their attention to the reality. As a healthcare professional, I launched a strong advocacy about COVID – 19 in the early days and I still continue to educate people to the best of my ability about the need to take safety precautions.

However, after a careful study of the situation and the AVAILABLE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE suggesting a much reduced fatality risk to the disease among the population of our recalled school children, I wish to strongly make the point that the COVID – 19 threat has already stalled a great part of our economic and social life and does not under the current circumstances deserve to stall the education of our children.

How comfortable are we to see that the educational progress of a whole generation of our kids (those in final year) is going to be delayed by a time frame which is totally UNCERTAIN when we know for fact that they are at reduced risk? 

Fortunately, the Government has instituted several measures in the schools meant to significantly reduce the risk of the kids contracting the disease. These measures implemented in the school, in most instances, offer more protection for the kids than they staying at home.

We cannot afford to lose our ability to remain calm in the midst of this pandemic. Depriving the kids the chance to complete their education as planned is an injustice (for which the kids may not forgive the preceding generations for) than the perception that reopening exposes them to the disease.

If only we all had converted the various noises and panic into motivating the kids to remain focused to finish their exams successfully. We should motivate them and let them understand that, successfully completing their education under these difficult conditions puts them in a better position to confront tough challenges they will be faced with in the future.

Written by: Dr. Issah Imoro (issahwuni@gmail)

The Writer is a Ghanaian Optometrist currently studying a Masters in Orthoptic and Pediatric Optometry at the University of South-Eastern Norway.

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