Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
As the Federal Government continues to gradually ease the national lockdown, it has announced that it is set to roll out measures to be put in place for the safe re-opening of schools across Nigeria.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, disclosed this on Wednesday at the daily briefing of the Task Force.
The Federal Government had on May 4th announced that it would commence the decontamination of schools across the country.
The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, has, however, described as fake news the purported date of June 8th for the reopening of schools.
‘Until we are sure that our children can go to school and return safely without taking COVID-19 home, we are not ready to take the risk of opening schools,’ he said.
He added that the Federal Government will rely on the opinion of experts and the guidance of the World Health Organisation before announcing any school resumption dates.
Nwajiuba said the government is working on a model to ensure that students do not return to their schools at the same time to ensure physical and social distancing as well as proper sanitation and hygiene at every school facility.
The plan entails adopting a two-shift system and allowing those who will write exams to return earlier than others.
He urged state governments and owners of private schools to plan ahead on how to ensure maximum safety for students when the resumption plan is unveiled.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, had informed the public of plans by the Federal Government to roll out the course of action for the reopening of schools in the country.
While congratulating children in the country on the occasion of this year’s Children’s Day, Mr Mustapha urged stakeholders to begin to take steps that would aid the reopening of schools in the country.
‘I wish to inform Nigerians that the Federal Ministry of Education will roll out measures for the self-reopening of schools,’ he stated.
‘The Presidential Task Force wishes to use the occasion of this celebration to congratulate our children and assure them, their parents and all stakeholders alike that all hands are on deck to reopen schools at a safe time.
‘We, therefore, use this medium to urge states, local governments, proprietors and all other stakeholders to begin to take steps that will facilitate an early and safe reopening.’