FG Sets Strict Conditions For Schools Reopening

The stringent conditions for schools  reopening contained in the guidelines submitted to the National Assembly by the Federal Ministry of Education, may force some schools to close down their operations.

The document, obtained by our correspondents is titled, “Guidelines for schools and learning facilities reopening after COVID-19 pandemic closure.”

According to the document, each school is required to create temporary isolation space and fully equipped clinics before reopening.

They are also to establish a referral system, including protocols and procedures to take if learners, teachers, administrators and other education personnel become unwell while in school.

Apart from that, the Federal Government in the document, mandated any state wishing to reopen schools to hold adequate consultations  with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the parents.

The guidelines also require school proprietors to construct additional structures and employ more teachers to ensure that they accommodate their pupils by adhering to the two-metre spacing system in classrooms.

Proprietors of schools have also been asked to seek grants to procure soap and buckets, ensure regular safe water supply, ensure constant supply of learning and instructional materials and pay salaries on time.

The Federal Ministry of Education had presented to the National Assembly, a detailed proposal on its plan to reopen schools across the country.

The Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, appeared before the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education on Tuesday, but refused to give details of the proposal.

According to the ministry, reopening of schools demands that sufficient provisions, including infrastructure, equipment and expertise, be available in the schools as stipulated in the guidelines.

The government listed the steps and actions to be taken before schools and learning facilities could be reopened.

They include a review of existing policies, practices and risk mitigation strategies in the use of schools for other purposes, such as distance learning centres, temporary shelters and isolation, among others

They also include staggered use of school facilities to ensure compliance with the NCDC guidelines, and development and dissemination of safe school reopening checklist to assist appropriate evidence-based decisions to reopen schools.

Other conditions are “disinfection and fumigation of facilities, including hostel accommodation, with particular attention given to those used as temporary isolation and treatment centres and for other purposes during the pandemic.

 “Sensitise, train and build capacity of teachers, administrators and other education personnel to effectively use and comply with the School COVID-19 Referral System and protocols for safe distancing and hygiene in schools.