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Nigeria Releases Guidelines for Reopening Schools

The federal government has just published “Guidelines for Schools and Learning Facilities Reopening after Covid-19 Pandemic Closure.” In the past, the Presidential Task Force promised to release guidelines for the safe reopening of schools to ensure that schools are safe for staff and students when they eventually reopen. 

In March, the federal government shut down education institutions in the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As part of the efforts of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 to reposition the education sector, the Education Ministry released a 44-page document to serve as a guide for schools when they finally reopen.

The guideline, which was published on the official website of the Ministry of Education, contains strategies needed to ensure the safety of everyone in the school community. The guidelines can be accessed on the ministry website via https://education.gov.ng/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/COVID-19-GUIDELINES-FOR-SAFE-REOPENING-OF-SCHOOLS-LEARNING-FACILITIES.pdf

In his foreword, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said: “Now is the time to plan and address the eventual safe reopening of schools and learning facilities. It will be recalled that at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, schools and all learning facilities were closed in order to safeguard the health and general wellbeing of our children, youths, teachers, and educational personnel. As a responsible government, it is also our duty to provide comprehensive guidelines for a safe and hitch-free reopening of schools and learning facilities. We do so knowing that the health, safety, and security of learners, teachers, education personnel, and families are priorities. 

“The Guidelines for Schools and Learning Facilities Reopening after COVID-19 Pandemic Closures outlines key strategies for implementing safe, efficient and equitable plans for school reopening and operations. The document focuses on attendance, social distancing, hygiene, cleaning, and non-pharmaceutical interventions for safe and healthy school activities and programs. Given that COVID-19 may be with us for a while, the guidelines also highlight the urgent need to maintain and improve upon distance-learning programs. Our aim is to identify and strengthen programs that will guarantee the recovery of learning gaps resulting from the pandemic.”

He continued, stating: “The guidelines were drafted in close coordination with health, environmental, education, and school safety experts who were tasked with the responsibility of charting a pathway for safely reopening our schools and learning facilities for quality teaching and learning. The approach ensured that stakeholders provided regular feedback throughout the process.”

Last Wednesday, after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, the Minister of Education said that schools will not be reopened soon. He also stated that schools under his ministry would not participate in the annual West African Senior School Certificate Examination billed to start early next month. 

The Ministry of Education is, however, yet to announce resumption date of schools across the country.

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