Ogun State government, has explained the rationale behind the requirements for COVID-19 Negative Test Certificates for students in terminal classes in secondary schools, especially those in boarding facilities, ahead of their resumption on Tuesday.
The state government, in a statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor, Basic and Secondary Education, Ronke Soyombo, on Sunday, said the requirement for the test was based on the guidelines jointly developed and agreed by parents, private school owners, government representatives and other stakeholders.
The state government, apparently reacting to the protest by the parents of students in private secondary schools against the N25,000 COVID-19 test levy, on Sunday morning, posited that the Ogun, which is arguably the state with the highest number of schools (public and private) operating boarding facilities in the country, needed to avoid community transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic amongst school children in the boarding facilities and invariably the State as a whole, hence the test.
Soyombo, noted that presentation of certificate of ‘NEGATIVE COVID-19 TEST’ is required before a student is admitted to the boarding facility in both public and private schools in the state.
The statement, however, disclosed that the state government will bear the full costs of the COVID-19 Test for all the boarding SS3 students in the state-owned public schools, saying “private school owners are also expected to ensure that all their boarding students are certified COVID-19 test negative before being admitted into their boarding facilities”.
The statement reads further: “To further assist the private schools, Ogun State Government has negotiated a huge discount in the cost of COVID-19 Test with some healthcare service providers.
However, private school owners and parents are free to engage any other service provider of their choice provided that the service provider is certified by NCDC as COVID-19 Test service provider.
“Indeed, Certificate of Negative COVID-19 Test from other locations across the country will be tenable provided, as usual, it is from an NCDC certified centre and the test has been performed within 72 hours of the date of resumption.
“Only boarding facilities directly operated by schools will be allowed to operate to enable government monitoring of such facilities for compliance with COVID-19 protocols. Parents and school owners are enjoined to work together to ensure that health and safety of our students is of paramount consideration at all times.
“Should any private school owner and parents desire a waiver of COVID-19 Test requirement for boarding students, a joint representation of the school owner and the parents should be made to the government and this shall be considered on a case-by-case basis”.