Sunday Schools and Children Services temporarily banned in Ghana

The Government through the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs has temporary banned Sunday Schools and Children Services in the country. Adult services are however allowed subject to a gathering of a maximum of 100 persons at a given time.

This directive was given by the Sector Minister, Samuel Kofi Dzamesi at a news conference in Accra to reiterate Government’s position on COVID-19 restriction protocols.

According to the Minister, “all Sunday schools and children services are not allowed” but he directed the churches to “spend at least five minutes of Church service time to educate church members on Covid-19”

“In observance of social distancing protocols, laying on of hands should not be allowed,” he added.

Below is the summary of the guidelines provided to churches and other religious bodies in the country:

GUIDELINES ON THE REOPENING OF CHURCHES/MOSQUES BY MINISTER FOR RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS

1) All Sunday schools and children services are not allowed

2) Spend at least 5 minutes of Church service time to educate church members on Covid-19

3) In observance of social distancing protocols,laying on of hands should not be allowed

4) 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

5) Discourage singing in groups, Pre-recoded songs or solos should be used

6) All who speak/sing in churches (including pastors, Sunday school teachers,singers and announcers ) must wear facemask during service

7) Sanitize microphones immediately after use

8) No crowd dancing and waving of handkerchiefs during church services

9) Older persons and people of any age with underlying medical conditions,heart diseases, diabetes,liver disease, and asthma are advised to stay away from church services

10) Unwell persons are not allowed to attend church

11) Ensure a No handshake, No hugging and No Spitting policy at all time

12 ) 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

13) Provide adequate ventilation i.e open windows to allow for maximum circulation of fresh air, if possible, avoid confined air-conditioned rooms

14) Trained cleaners with the necessary personal protective equipment and cleaning items to clean the facilities regularly and handle waste appropriately

15) Regular disinfection of venues used by churches, preferably once every month

16) Designate a holding room or area where a person who becomes sick at the premises/event can be isolated from others while making arrangements for evacuation

17) Regular cleaning and disinfection of frequently used communal places ( like toilet surfaces) and frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs/handles, preferably every 1-2hours depending on the rate of utilization

18) Provision of adequate toilet facilities for use by members

19) Provision of hand washing facilities with running water and soap and /or FDA approved alcohol-based sanitizer

20) Ensure a No Mask:No Entry Policy

21) General Specific Protocols For Church

Thermometer guns or thermal scanners are provided for checking the temperature of congregants at entry points of all venues

22) 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

23) Sharing personal items such as watches, jewelry,pens and phones should be discouraged

By Francis Edzorna Mensah

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