COVID-19: We are not in a hurry to reopen schools, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti govts say

July 26, 2020
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AGAINST the backdrop of the ravaging COVID-19, some state governments in the South-West have said that primary and post-primary schools will remain shut in the face of COVID-19 pandemic. Osun State Commissioner for Education,  r Folorunso Bamisayemi Oladoyin on Saturday said the state government was not in a hurry to reopen schools.

Speaking to our correspondent in a telephone chat, he said the state government could not afford to use students as guinea pigs by exposing them to danger through the premature reopening of schools. According to Oladoyin, “for us in  Osun, we are not in a hurry to reopen schools. Our first and most important consideration is safety. We don’t want to use our students as guinea pigs. The extent of devastation, transmission and development of COVID-19 is still emerging  and evolving.”

“Safety is paramount to us. There will be the partial reopening of schools for students in terminal classes like SS3 to do their examinations or school leaving certificate examinations. We would now study the situation to look for a decrease or increase in the spike of infection. If we have succeeded in flattening the curve, then we can now think of reopening the schools.”

“But, now that the curve is rising, we cannot reopen schools. As a matter of fact,  we are now at the stage of community transmission in Osun. In a single day,  35 persons were infected and this signifies a steady increase in the infection rate. “It would be unfair and amount to carelessness on our part considering our inability to flatten the curve and now throw the schools open. If we manage to flatten the curve, halt community transmission and checkmate the surge in infection rate, that is when we can think of reopening schools.

“This would be accompanied by ensuring adherence to precautionary measures such as sanitising of pupils hands and wearing of nose masks.  “But, because of the surge in infection rate, we cannot expose the lives of our students to danger by opening the schools.

We are watching the situation very keenly and we have  adopted the doctrine of the best interest of a child, which is not  to go to school for a while and secure the future of such child.” “Assuming without concerning that we miss a year, is that the end of the future of our children. No.

Sometimes, you fail an examination and you repeat, it doesn’t stop you from getting to where you are going. If we reopen schools prematurely and peradventure there is a surge in infection rate and we lose so many lives, will they be alive to witness the future we want for them? No.”

In the same vein, academic activities will not resume soon in Ondo State until appropriate measures are put in place by the state government in ensuring that the lives of the students, teachers and other academic are safe. According to an official of the Ministry of Education,  who said he was not in the position to speak on the development, but said the ministry of Education has been meeting to see how students can return to their various soon.

He attributed the delay in the resumption to the daily increase in the number of COVID -19 infections in the state,   saying “there is no known cure for the disease yet” He said “it will be dangerous for schools to be opened with the present situation as we keep recording  COVID -19 victims every day.

We cannot stop our pupils from interacting  and we must put in place  some measures to ensure these children are safe  before school resume.”  Also, Lagos State public and private secondary schools across the state would reopen their doors on August 3 for their SS3  students, who are preparing for the 2020 West  African Senior Secondary School  Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) being conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).

The guidelines for reopening which is strictly for lesson classes for the students towards the examinations,of which the timetable is not yet made official by the examination body, would be released tomorrow (Monday). All other students in both secondary and primary schools as well as tertiary institutions in the state would still stay at home until further notice.

The Commissioner for Education in Ekiti state, Mr  Folusho Daramola told Sunday Tribune that the government would soon make its decision public on the resumption of students in the state. Daramola who revealed that consultation with the relevant stakeholders was ongoing, said the government would come out with the best decision that would help the system.

“ We are very much on it with our plans for resumption but we will make our position public after due consultation with the stakeholders,” he said.  He lamented the damage he coronavirus pandemic had done on all sectors of the economy,  saying the government would do everything possible to safeguard of students.

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