Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Following the decline in the recorded cases of COVID-19 in the State, Kaduna State Government is gradually reopening its primary and secondary schools in the form of shift beginning this Monday, October 19.
According to the Commissioner for Education in the State, Dr Shehu Usman Muhammed, the experience gotten from the exit students (JSS3 and SS3) who were recently invited back to school for their examinations has shown that other classes can resume in batches.
To get this done, he said the state government has set aside about N300, million for COVID-19 protocols while another N1.5 billion has also been approved for the renovation of about 125 schools blown off by rain storm.
“From October 18, our SS2 boarding students will be resuming school while Day students will be resuming on the 19th. All SS 2 students, all JSS 2 students and all primary six students will come back to school to sit for the various exams that will promote them to the next classes”, the commissioner said.
He further explained that each class will be accommodating a maximum of 20 students as a strategy to ensure social distancing and spread during the recommended four hours of blended learning per day.
He said, “a few weeks back, we invited our exit students because we wanted to prepare them a week ahead of junior secondary school examination and both WAEC and NECO for the SS3.
“That experience had taught us some lessons which we want to use now to invite other batches to return to school for one examination or the other.
“We have made adequate arrangement in our schools. This we shall monitor closely for two weeks and if we are satisfied that the arrangements we put in place work, we will then invite another category of students back to school until we can absorb all of them.
“We expect that each Day School has infrared thermometers while Boarding Schools will have mounted thermometers to check the temperature of their students as they come in or leave the premises.
“Second, we are providing washing hand base in all the schools. We are providing each student with a face mask. We also encourage parents to provide additional face mask and portable hand sanitizer for their children.
“We will also ensure social distancing with a maximum of 20 students per class with blended learning (online and class).
“We are also encouraging the shifting system. Some can come in the morning – between 8 am to 12 pm. Others will come in by 1 pm and finish by 5 pm. We are doing these to ensure adequate space, spread and less time for contacts among the students.
“We want to appeal to parents to arrange transportation system for their children to check community transmission of the virus. In every school, there is going to be a monitoring and compliance committee comprising of the school-based management committee (SBMC), staff, community and students’ representatives which will be supported by the task force on COVID-19.
“At the initial stage, N200 million was approved for the school reopening. We have added about N100 million which has been approved and I am very sure if there is additional need to ensure we get it right, the Governor will also give approval”, he added.