Final year students in Abia State might be going back to school as stakeholders in the state’s education sector are considering August 10 for reopening to enable students in exit classes prepare and write their relevant examinations.
This was the outcome of a one-day submit held at Michael Okpara Auditorium of Government House, Umuahia, where it was agreed that the planned school reopening is subject to verifiable compliance with all the proposed COVID-19 protocals, prevention and control measures.
In his opening remarks at the submit, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu insisted that while the state was desirous of ensuring students resume classes as quickly as possible, he maintained that his administration would not sacrifice the health of the children for anything.
“We must find a balance between ensuring that they continue to enjoy good health and protection from this virus and continuing their education. I, therefore, urge all of us to take responsibility for our protection from this virus as well as the protection of our children and loved ones. Our lives cannot stop because of this virus but we can take necessary measures to protect ourselves and loved ones from the pandemic,” he said.
Addressing newsmen after the summit, Secretary to Abia State Government, Chris Ezem, listed some of the agreed pre-conditions to include clearing of school premises, decontamination/fumigation, provision of sick bays with relevant medical staff, digital thermometers, compulsory provision of hand washing stations as well as maintenance of social distance with maximum of 20 students in each classroom.
Ezem, who said the measures apply to both public and private schools listed other conditions to include ban on gatherings, ban on food vendors in the schools and assured that the government will provide original pocket-size hand sanitizers for all the school children in the exit classes. Head teachers were also directed to ensure that the students spend a minimum of 10 minutes daily to learn about COVID-19 and its associated prevention and control measures while charging parents to ensure that their children have and wear face masks to school.
Stakeholders who spoke at the education summit in Umuahia included representatives of PTA’s, proprietors of private schools, the clergy, traditional rulers, the academia among others.