Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa Government has concluded plans to open schools for all students in line with the guidelines and safety protocols put in place to forestall spread of COVID-19 in the state.
To this end, it has commenced the training of teachers and other health care professionals to train other people to ensure the safety of students and children when the schools reopen fully.
Governor Douye Diri, who spoke while declaring open the Safe Re-Opening of Schools Train-the-Trainers Programme, organised by the state government at the Harold Dappa-Biriye Conference Centre in Yenagoa, said government is desirous to prevent community transmission of COVID-19.
He also seized the opportunity to warn that private schools not registered with the Ministry of Education would not be allowed to operate as they would not be able to guarantee the safety of students.
Diri, who announced the inauguration of a monitoring committee, challenged school teachers and parents to take responsibility for the wellbeing of their students and children as they resume to write their exminations.
The governor rated the Bayelsa State Government high in the fight against COVID-19, adding that his administration would not relent in its efforts to keep all residents of the state safe.
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has found the need to reopen certain key institutions in collaboration with state governments. But, we must continue to keep to the protocols and guidelines to avoid any further spread of the pandemic.
“We are here to train key stakeholders in the school system and in the health sector, who will now extend same to their colleagues. That is why it is tagged: Train the Trainer. This is the only way to check community transmission in our state.
“As the schools reopen, let us bear in mind that there is no known or recommended cure for COVID-19, although recent events have shown that the disease is not a death sentence. Many infected persons have been successfully treated even in our state.
“We must ensure we keep to the protocols and the entire checklist that have been provided to protect the future of our children at all times. That is the avowed commitment of our government.
“It is in this light that we have formed a state monitoring committee, which would go round all the schools, including the local government areas. We have provided scanners, 10,000 face masks and other hygiene-related items like soap and water for private and government secondary schools.”
Meanwhile, the governor has lifted the ban on mid-week services for all religious organisations in the state.
Diri, who announced this during a meeting with religious leaders, however urged them to continue to maintain all existing COVID-19 protocols during worship.