The Nigerian Government has given the green light for schools administrators to begin the process for full reopening of schools and camps of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) across the country within the next 30 days.
Recall that Lagos, epicentre of COVID-19 in the country has already announced September 14 and 21 as days gates of its schools would be thrown wide open for full academic session.
National Government’s Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has, in the same vein, directed all schools across Nigeria and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to begin preparations to resume activities within the next 30 days.
The directive came just as President Muhammadu Buhari approved the commencement of the third phase of the gradual easing of the lockdown beginning from today, September 4.
The phase is billed to last for a period of four weeks. In line with the approval, the curfew, which was imposed in the wake of the scourge, has been further reviewed downwards and would now last between midnight and 4a.m. National Coordinator of PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during the bi-weekly briefing of the taskforce, said the new measures were meant to address the economic, socio-political and health considerations reflected in the implementation guidelines.
Aliyu called on all state governments to carry out risk assessments of all schools and NYSC camps to ensure their conditions were in compliance with PTF guidelines and are safe for reopening. He warned that the reopening of all day care centres and other educational institutions must not be done in one fell swoop. Aliyu directed that the reopening of schools must be done in phases in order not to expose the children, general public and vulnerable groups in particular to being infected with coronavirus.
His words: “The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is to consolidate on safety measures currently being put in place and start preparing for reopening of orientation camps when educational institutions reopen and we are in the process of developing a strict guideline to ensure that there is no outbreak of COVID-19 when orientation camps reopen.
“Educational institutions, including day care, primary and secondary should begin the process of working towards potentially reopening within this phase, but states should conduct risk assessment to ensure that all schools are at a level of compliance and create a monitoring mech nism to assess and monitor this compliance.” Sani further disclosed that PTF was working closely with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure safety by avoiding possible spread of COVID-19 during the electoral process in Edo and Ondo states.
“INEC should ensure compliance with the publicised policy on conducting safe elections in the context of COVID-19, in particular, the mandatory use of face mask and no face mask, no voting. Provision of hand sanitizers at polling units, temperature checks at polling units and observation of physical distancing in all electoral activities,” he said. Nigeria imposed its first round of lockdown in March. President Buhari, on April 27, announced the gradual easing of the fiveweek lockdown in FCT, Lagos and Ogun states.