Federal Government, on Friday, announced that, barring any last minute change in plans, Federal Government owned tertiary institutions in Nigeria, as well as Federal Government 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 Nigeria, and the essence, according to government, was to contain the community transmission of dreaded coronavirus.
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who addressed a press conference in Abuja, said the decision to reopen the schools was sequel to review of COVID-19 situation in Nigeria, given the fact 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, thus asked schools to strictly and rigidly adhere 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 the children, insisting that nothing should be taken for granted.
Adamu 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 strongly encouraged availability of water, sanitation facilities across the schools, and use of open spaces for gathering and promoting outdoor activities.