COVID-19: Schools get ready to re-open

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Anxiety is sweeping across the country as senior secondary school class 3 students get ready to resume on Tuesday in preparation for their final examinations.

All schools had been shut in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But following safety guidelines developed by the federal and state governments, it was agreed that SSS3 students can return to enable them to prepare for their terminal examinations.

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The state governments are already fumigating the schools in fulfillment of one of the conditions for reopening.

Other measures are Training of teachers and other personnel on safety and hygiene measures; establishing a COVID-19 referral system; provision of an ambulance and access to a testing/isolation/treatment centre; provision of adequate water, sanitation, and hygienic (WASH) facilities across school premises; establishment of staff/students committee for regular surveillance, monitoring, and enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines.

The ministries of education in the various states have spent the last few days fumigating classrooms and school compounds.

The Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services in Lagos State, Mrs. Aderonke Odeneye, said yesterday that the majority of public secondary schools in the six educational districts in the state have been reached.

“The fumigation exercise which is on-going, preparatory to resumption next week for terminal classes will continue after the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) Exams,” she said in a statement.

The continuous exercise which commenced in late June has been effected in all the Model colleges across the six educational districts in the state.
Already fumigated are Oduduwa Junior Secondary School, Mushin, New Era Girls Secondary School, Surulere, Oriwu Junior, and Senior Model College, Ikorodu.

Others include Lagos State Civil Service Senior Model College, Igbogbo, Igbo- Owu Junior and Senior Secondary School, Mushin and Junior Model College, Igbogbo.

She asked the school management to provide hand sanitizers in all classrooms and hostels as well as ensure that students are tutored on the need to constantly sanitize their hands after every educational activity in the classrooms and wear nose masks always.

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“Schools are to enforce physical distancing where applicable and also provide facilities to reduce the risk of the infection amongst teachers and students”.

“Disinfection of shoes and feet should be strongly encouraged frequently for each student to reduce bacterial infection that could lead to any ailment during their stay in the school”.

The state government has also directed all SS3 and Technical Studies (TEC3) students in both day and boarding schools in the State to resume tomorrow.

Education Commissioner, Folasade Adefisayo, said this was to allow for revision classes and adequate preparation ahead of their forthcoming West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Adefisayo explained that this directive became imperative due to the newly announced date by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) for the 2020 WASSCE scheduled to commence on the 17th of August, 2020.

According to her, “Only SS3 and Technical Study Three (TEC3) students are permitted to resume for the Day and Boarding Schools on the 3rd of August for revision classes and examinations”.

While imploring all schools in the State to follow the required public health guidelines and protocols for re-opening of schools for this category of students, Adefisayo stressed that the government is considering the option of using the First and Second Term examination results or continuous assessment to promote students in other exit classes.

The Commissioner revealed that various meetings have been held with stakeholders in the education, health, and safety sectors in a bid to ensure that adequate precautionary measures are put in place to ensure the safety of the students before resumption.

“The Office of Education Quality Assurance will be going round all the schools across the State to monitor the level of safety and protocol compliance expected to be put in place by both private and public schools”, she asserted.

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