Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Federal Government, on Friday, announced that, barring any last minute change in plans, public tertiary institutions in Nigeria, as well as Colleges, otherwise known as Unity Schools, will reopen on October 12th for continuation of academic activities.
Similarly, states and private school owners are expected to work out modalities for the reopening of schools under their purview.
Recall that schools in Nigeria were shut down in March following the outbreak of COVID-19 in a bid to contain the community transmission of the dreaded coronavirus. Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who addressed a press conference in Abuja yesterday, said the decision to reopen the schools was sequel to review of COVID-19 situation in Nigeria, adding that infection figure has been on steady decline.
He said: “We have consulted widely with stakeholders in the sector including the Association of Private Schools (NAPPS), Provosts of Colleges of Education, Rectors of Polytechnics, Vice Chancellors of Universities, State Governors, Commissioners of Education and other development partners on the matter and secured their support and cooperation.”
He asked schools to adhere strictly to COVID-19 protocols, threatening that adequate sanctions await any school owner that does not comply with the safety guidelines which may result in outbreak of coronavirus in the school.
He advised schools to be vigilant, strict and rigid in the implementation of COVID-19 protocols for the safety of pupils, insisting that nothing should be taken for granted. The Minister added: “Safe distancing procedures should be regularly practiced. Additionally, schools should develop and display simple context specific reference protocols on day-to-day actions to be operated in each school.
“Conduct risk assessment with a view to understanding the gaps in the system that could increase the risk of transmission, and make recommendations for addressing the gaps. There should be adequate sensitization and monitoring procedures.”
The Minister encouraged availability of water, sanitation facilities across the schools, and use of open spaces for gathering and promoting outdoor activities.