October 6, 2020
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Ahead of the reopening of all schools nationwide, the federal government has deployed 60,000 Environmental Health Emergency Volunteer Corps (EHEVCs) to secondary and primary schools in 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs).

Recall that in March, the federal government ordered the closure of tertiary institutions, secondary and primary schools nationwide given the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.

The minister of Environment, Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar disclosed this in Abuja yesterday while briefing newsmen on plans by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on safe reopening of schools and learning facilities.

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He noted that the EHEVCs would be working with other stakeholders at the sub-national levels in accordance with the guidelines on safe reopening of schools, adding that it’s the duty of Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) to priortise the immediate setting-up of

Environmental Health Clubs (EHCs) in schools where none existed prior to COVID-19 pandemic.

The minister hinted that the clubs, to be operated by selected learners, would assist in implementing the directives of the teacher-driven school hygiene committee, even as he enjoined school managers to introduce Hygiene and Sanitation Prefectship (HSP) that would ensure proper compliance of the COVID-19 protocols.

Abubakar advised EHOs in States and local government areas to key into the training of teachers, administrators and other education personnel on safety and hygiene measures such as disinfection, safe distancing, hand hygiene, use of facemasks/shields, respiratory hygiene and waste management.

On why tertiary institutions were not captured, the acting Registrar of Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON), Dr Yakubu Baba emphasized that the federal government has a rolling plan on easing the lockdown, which will be done in phases.

While recalling that the federal government had deployed 40,000 EHEVCs to 19,000 West African Examinations Council (WAEC) centres nationwide, he stated that plans are underway to reopen other learning institutions in line with PTF on COVID-19.

According to him, “Since there is COVID-19, EHEVCs will continue manning the surveillance desk in schools and also making sure that all learning institutions adhered to the guidelines issued by the PTF on COVID-19”.

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