January 18 School Resumption Stands – FG

Despite fear over the rising COVID-19 cases in the country, the Federal Government has insisted that the January 18 resumption date for schools stands.

“After extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders, including State Governors, Commissioners of Education, Proprietors and heads of institutions, staff unions and students, the consensus of opinion is that the resumption date of 18th January should remain,” the Federal Ministry of Education said in a statement issued on Thursday by its Director, Press and Public Relations, Ben Bem Goong.

This announcement few days after
the United Nations Children’s Fund says closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic will impact negatively on the development, safety and wellbeing of children globally, noting that schools are not drivers of the viral disease.

UNICEF also warned that the effects of closing school for another year will be felt for generations to come.

The Ministry of Education however, explained that all schools and parents must ensure strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols such as wearing of face masks, social distancing among others.

“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,” the ministry added.

Earlier in the week, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 had hinted that it would review the resumption date (January 18, 2020) for learning institutions in the country, citing the rising COVID-19 infections in Africa’s most populous nation.

This had sparked fears among many Nigerians that schools resumption might be put on hold indefinitely even though many states in the country had set dates for the reopening of the learning centres.

The Federal Government had on December 21st ordered the closure of schools across the country until January 18, 2021, even though many had closed for the year and set the resumption date for the first and second weeks of January 2021.

According to the Chairman of the PTF, Boss Mustapha, the closure of the schools was to allow the COVID-19 prevention measures introduced to take effect in the learning institutions.

Read the statement below:

SCHOOL RESUMPTION DATE OF 18TH JANUARY 2021 STANDS MINISTER
Sequel to the hint given during the press 12 January 2021 for the review of the proposed resumption date of 18th January 2021, the Federal Ministry of Education has undertaken a comprehensive appraisal of the situation.
After extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders, including State Governors, Commissioners of Education, Proprietors and heads of institutions, staff unions and students, the consensus of opinion is that the resumption date of 18th January should remain, while parents and respective institutions must ensure full compliance with COVID-19 protocols including:-
(i) Compulsory wearing of Facemasks by all students, teachers and workers in all schools
(ii) Temperature checks and hand washing facilities at strategic locations in all schools
(iii) Ensuring constant supply of water and sanitizers
(iv) Enforcement of maintenance of social distancing and suspension of large gatherings such as assembly and visiting days.
(v) Avoiding overcrowding, including limitations in class sizes and hostel occupancy
(vi) Availability of functional health clinics with facilities for isolation and transportation of suspected cases to medical facilities
(vii) Adherence to all other non-pharmaceutical protocols, restrictions and containment measures as may be prescribed/ approved by the PTF from time to time.
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.

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