Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Stakeholders in the education sector in Abia State have tentatively fixed August 10, for reopening of schools to enable students in exit classes prepare and write relevant examinations.
This was the outcome of the summit held in Umuahia yesterday between
government officials led Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and critical stakeholders in the education sector, including leaders of some vested groups.
The planned reopening is subject to verifiable compliance with all the
proposed COVID-19 prevention and control measures agreed at the summit
convoked by the state government at Government House Umuahia.
Addressing newsmen after the summit, the Secretary to Abia State
Government, Barr 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 informed that the measures apply to both public and private
schools in the state listed other conditions to include ban on
gatherings among the students, 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.
Heads of tertiary institutions in the state were mandated to submit their plans for resumption of exit classes to the Secretary to State Government along with detailed plans to ensure that students are protected from the virus.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu insisted that while the state was desirous of
ensuring her students resume classes as quickly as possible, his administration would not sacrifice the health of the children for anything.
He added, “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 announced that primary six pupils will be fed by the government and called on religious leaders in the state to take up the fight against COVID-19 by using their pulpits to sensitize the people on the virus prevention and control.