There will be no Sunday school for children following the easing of restrictions on religious activities in the country, Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs Minister Samuel Kofi Dzamesi has said.
This was in response to a question at a media briefing by the Minister to give further clarity and guidelines on religious activities.
“Sunday schools and children services are not allowed because it will be very difficult for the children to observe social distancing he told journalists.
According to him, apart from sanctioning churches that flout the guidelines, the pastor’s in charge will be held responsible.
Also, the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, has said there would be no Sunday School for children in churches across the country as restrictions on religious activities are eased.
Speaking on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem morning show on Monday, Mr Oppong-Nkrumah said it was important that religious bodies adhered to the new directives.
To him, children were vulnerable, especially in difficult times such as this, hence Sunday schools in the various churches would not be permitted as children would easily disregard the social distancing rules.
Explaining why the president allowed only final year students to report back to school, he said it was because it would be difficult for the younger ones in school, particularly those in the primary levels to strictly adhere to the safety protocols.
Most parents have expressed mixed reactions at the directive arguing that if it is not necessary to organise Sunday schools then there will be no need for them to attend church since they can’t leave the children at home.
One caller into the morning show by Accra based Adom Gm said “ It is mainly because of training the children in the fear of the Lord that is why we send our children to church because they need the training more than we the adult” she told the presenter.
Another call was skeptical wether most churches will be able to comply with the one hour duration for each service since most of these churches use an hour to do worship and praises.
Meanwhile, government has announced a set of advisories following the resumption of religious activities in the phased easing of the COVID-19 restrictions.
Below are the 29 point guidelines:
1. Thermometer guns or thermal scanners are to be provided for checking the temperature of congregants at entry points.
2. A No mask, No entry Policy is to be enforced.
3. Handwashing facilities with running water and soap and/or FDA approved alcohol-based hand sanitizer are to be provided.
4. Adequate waste management facilities (bins, cans, bin-liners and single-use tissues) are to be made available.
5. Adequate toilet facilities must be made available.
6. There should be the regular cleaning and disinfection of frequently used communal places (like toilet surfaces) and frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs/handles, preferably every 1-2 hours depending on the rate of utilization.
7. A holding room or area where a person who becomes sick at the gathering can be isolated from others must be available ahead of arrangements for evacuation.
8. There must be the regular disinfection of venues used by churches, preferably once every month.
9 .Trained cleaners with the necessary personal protective equipment and cleaning items must be on hand to clean the facilities regularly and handle waste appropriately.
10. Churches are to ensure adequate ventilation, i.e. open windows to allow for the maximum circulation of fresh air, if possible, avoid confined air-conditioned rooms.
11 . Churches are to display approved health promotion materials on COVID-19 at vantage points to remind congregants to keep to social distancing protocols, wearing of the masks, regular handwashing, coughing and sneezing etiquette.
12. Churches are to ensure a No handshake, No hugging and No Spitting policy at all time.
13. Churches are to Follow established evacuation procedures to enable evacuation if a congregant becomes sick during the event and has to be evacuated.
14. Churches are to form a COVID-19 task force comprising of members who are preferably health workers.
15. Unwell Persons are not allowed to attend church
16. Elderly persons and people of any age with underlying medical conditions, heart diseases, diabetes, liver disease, and asthma are advised to stay away from church service
17. Sharing personal items such as watches, jewellery, pens and phones should be discouraged.
18. If an individual is confirmed positive for COVID-19, all contacts must be traced and screened.
19. No crowded dancing and waving of handkerchiefs during church services.
20 . Microphones are to be sanitized immediately after each use.
21 . All persons who speak or sing in churches must wear facemask during service.
22. Churches are to discourage singing in groups and instead use pre-recorded songs.
23. Pre-packaged communion bread and wine should be picked up by members at the point of entry.
24. Place offering bowls at the entrance and exit points for members to give offerings and tithes when entering or on their way out of church premises.
25. Encourage cash transfers via mobile money or mobile banking as forms of giving offerings.
26. In observance of social distancing protocols, laying on of hands should not be allowed.
27. Spend at least five minutes of church service time to educate church members on Covid-19.
28. Provide separate sitting areas for the aged and for families that are together.
29. The church is encouraged to mobilize resources to help individuals in need including offering church health facilities.