The Federal Government through the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu has finally resolved to go ahead with the January 18, 2021 resumption date for schools nationwide despite the pressure being mounted by some organisations, including the Academic Staff Union of Universities, against reopening of schools amid the second wave of the pandemic.
He said the decision was reached after due consultations with relevant stakeholders and having taken comprehensive appraisal of the situation to review the proposed date.
This was contained in a statement from the federal ministry of education, signed by the Director, Press and Public Relations Ben Bem Goong on Thursday.
AMILOADED recalls that the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had during the press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday said January 18 resumption date was not sacrosanct.
He had given an indication that the date would be reviewed without giving further details.
The National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, had kicked against the reopening of schools amid the pandemic.
He urged the government to provide the ideal environment and meet the conditions spelt out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control before reopening schools across the country.
But the Minister of Education, Adamu, confirmed to our correspondent in the statement that his ministry had resolved to retain the January 18 resumption date.
He said, “You will recall that at the Monday briefing of the PTF, I mentioned that the task force directed our ministry to review the January 18 planned resumption date and come back with a decision on whether to retain it or further extend the school closure.
“Based on that directive, senior officials in the ministry met on the matter. We took a decision on the matter.
“Apart from that, we decided to also consult with other stakeholders, like state commissioners for education. We have also done that.
“The outcome of our consultation is that majority of the stakeholders want the January 18 resumption date to remain.
“So, it is now our collective decision that the resumption should remain January 18. We intend to make the formal announcement either today (Thursday) or tomorrow (Friday).”
Protocols to observe
He said the schools must ensure compulsory wearing of Facemasks by all students, teachers and workers in all schools and Temperature checks and hand washing facilities must be at strategic locations in all schools.
“Ensure constant supply of water and sanitizers, enforcement of maintenance of social distancing and suspension of large gatherings such as assembly and visiting days as well as avoiding overcrowding, including limitations in class sizes and hostel occupancy,” the statement said.
Other protocols include availability of functional health clinics with facilities for isolation and transportation of suspected cases to medical facilities.
He said adherence to all other non-pharmaceutical protocols, restrictions and containment measures as may be prescribed/ approved by the PTF from time to time must be applied.
“These measures which are to ensure safe reopening of schools for academic activities will be subject to constant review as we urge teachers, school administrators and other stakeholders to ensure strict compliance.”