All is set for the federal government, through the Minister of Education, to meet with state governments on Tuesday 7th July to discuss the terms and conditions for the safe reopening of schools around the country after being closed for more than three months.
In a communique issued by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono on March 19th, the federal government ordered the closure of schools around the country. The closure was believed to be a proactive step to stop the spread of the dreaded coronavirus disease and the schools have remained closed since then.
The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 had, on Monday the 29th of June, announced that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the reopening of schools in the extended second phase of eased lockdown. Mustapha, while announcing the reopening, said it was aimed at allowing students in graduating classes prepare for examinations.
The Edo State Commissioner for Education, while speaking to newsmen at the meeting, said: “I just got an invitation from the Minister of Education and we are meeting on Tuesday. The truth is that we have not drawn out the modality for their resumption. I have sent a memo to Mr Governor. We need to buy infrared (thermometer). We need to fumigate all the school premises, and get hand sanitizers and personal protective equipment for teachers.”
Cross River State, on June 16th, postponed its school resumption till further notice following pressure from the federal government which warned of the risk associated with such reopening.
However, students in Primary six, JSS3 and SSS 3 across Oyo state will resume today Monday 6th July.
A few weeks ago, the state government announced the planned resumption, which it initially fixed for Monday 29th June, the state government later backtracked and postponed the resumption of students by a week while it directed teachers to resume on the 29th of June so that adequate preparations could be made ahead of students’ resumption a week after. The schools are expected to open for 3 hours between 8 am and 12noon.
The Government of Ekiti State has scheduled a similar resumption date for students in the examination classes for July 20, this was made known by Governor Kayode Fayemi in a statewide broadcast on Tuesday 30th June. He added that Certificate of Readiness will be given to schools that have adhered to all conditions required for school reopening to certify them fit for resumption ahead of 20th July. He also said he had directed the fumigation of all schools across the state. Last week, the Lagos State Government also fixed resumption of SSS 3 and Technical 3 students for 3rd August, while students in primary 6 and JS3 will be allowed to join them one or two weeks later.
Additionally, federal and state governments across the country are expected to provide hand sanitizers, hand washing facilities, face shields, nose masks and other personal protective equipment to students and teachers across the country so as to prevent further spread of the virus. Social distancing will be observed in classrooms. Classes with a large population can be divided so as to ensure the overcrowding is avoided.
Understanding the dangers of reopening schools, virtual learning programmes can be deployed by the government to reduce physical contacts among tutors and learners, this can totally remove the risk of further spread of the virus, the government will also be expected to help pupils who may not be able to afford virtual learning gadgets as a form of palliative so that they are not disadvantaged.
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