By Tobi Soniyi
Final year students in Abia State may soon go back to school, as stakeholders in the state education sector are considering August 10, 2020, for reopening of schools to enable students in exit classes prepare and write their examinations.
A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the state governor on Media, Mr. Enyinnaya Appolos, said this was the outcome of a one-day summit held at the Government House in Umuahia, the state capital, where it was agreed that the planned school reopening was subject to verifiable compliance with all the proposed COVID-19 protocols, prevention and control measures.
In his opening remarks at the summit, the state Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, insisted that while the state was desirous of ensuring its high flying students resume classes as quickly as possible, he maintained that his administration would not sacrifice the health of the children for anything.
He said: “We must find a balance between ensuring that they continue to enjoy good health and protection from this virus and continuing their education. I therefore urge all of us to take responsibility for our protection from this virus as well as the protection of our children and loved ones. Our lives cannot stop because of this virus, but we must take necessary measures to protect ourselves and loved ones from the pandemic.”
Addressing journalists after the summit, the Secretary to Abia State Government (SSG), Mr. Chris Ezem, listed some of the agreed pre-conditions to include clearing of school premises, decontamination/fumigation, provision of sick bays with relevant medical staff, compulsory provision of digital thermometers and hand washing stations as well as maintenance of social distance with maximum of 20 students in each classroom.
Ezem said the measures applied to both public and private schools in the state.
He also listed other conditions to include ban on gatherings among the students and ban on food vendors in the schools, however, assuring the state that the government would provide original pocket-size hand sanitizers for all the school children in the exit classes.
Head teachers were also directed to ensure that the students spend a minimum of 10 minutes daily to learn about COVID-19 and its prevention and control measures, while also charging parents to ensure that their children have and wear face masks to school always.