Fed Govt panics over COVID-19 transmission as schools reopen

The Federal Government on Monday advised stakeholders in the education sector to ensure adherence to COVID-19 prevention protocols as schools open for exit classes.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation and PTF Chairman Boss Mustapha said during a briefing in Abuja that all stakeholders must ensure strict compliance with precautionary measures.

Mustapha said: “I wish to restate that the education sector is critical for the development of our children and our nation.

“Reopening the sector is also a source of concern based on the fact that the school system remains a veritable ground for increasing community transmission if appropriate protocols are not put in place and more importantly adhered to.

“In this regard, the PTF wishes to implore stakeholders to ensure that the agreed protocols are put in place and measures strictly adhered to.

“The PTF continues to push forward with the community engagement, risk communication and support to states.

“There is on-going surveillance in the high burden local government areas just as we ramp up our precision efforts.

“Similarly, the Federal Government is supporting the states to firm up their Incidence Action Plans, preparatory to their accessing the World Bank facility for the fight against COVID-19.”

The SGF said the PTF will soon submit its sixth interim report to the President.

He said: “Subject to his approval, we hope to present the way forward to Nigerians at the next briefing on August 6, 2020 (Thursday),” he said.

The Federal Government on Monday announced the reopening of the 104 unity colleges for Senior Secondary Three (SS3) pupils today to enable them to sit for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE).

Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, stated this at the end of a virtual meeting with commissioners for education and other stakeholders.

Federal Ministry of Education Press and Public Relations Director, Ben Goong, said in a statement that all returning pupils are to undergo temperature checks and observe other COVID-19 protocols before being allowed into schools.

“From today (yesterday), the Minister of State for Education, Permanent Secretary and directors will embark on an assessment tour of all unity colleges to ascertain and confirm the reports they have received from their principals.

“Similarly, Federal Education Quality Assurance Directors deployed to the states have been directed to monitor compliance in their respective states.”

Goong said commissioners of education were urged to embark on assessment tours to ascertain the level of preparations for reopening.

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) asked schools to reopen Monday for pupils in exit classes.

FCTA Educations Secretariat warned schools that have not been inspected and certified as ready for resumption by the Department of Quality Assurance of the Education not to reopen.

Acting Secretary for Education, Umaru Marafa, said in a statement: “All schools in the FCT can re-open for exit pupils only on August 4, 2020 for preparation for their examinations, i.e. WASSCE and Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE).”

Private and public schools in the Southeast will resumed Monday for exit classes only.

This is part of the resolutions by the governors at their meeting on Sunday.

A communique by the Director-General of the Southeast Governors Forum, Prof. Uchenna Ortuanya, said the states have begun the decontamination of schools.

The statement said the governors are also providing hand sanitizers and water in line with COVID-19 NCDC protocols.

“Random sampling of COVID-19 tests shall be conducted on the teachers and students.

“Health workers shall be sent to the schools to train the teachers and students on COVID-19 protocols and to also enforce same,” the statement said.

In Lagos, the government  warned schools not to admit pupils of classes until the government says so.

Commissioner for Education Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo disregarding the policy would lead to sanctions.

She urged schools not to exceed the 20-per class capacity limit set by the government to check the spread of COVID-19.

Adefisayo spoke when she visited schools in Yaba, Surulere and Apapa under Education District IV.

She expressed satisfaction with their level of preparedness, saying the random visits would continue until all schools are covered. – The Nation.

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