Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has ordered the reopening of places of worship in the state. Sanwo-Olu said mosques could hold their prayers five times daily, while churches could also commence weekly services.
Worship centres had been restricted to one gathering weekly after they were allowed to reopen following the easing of the lockdowns put in place to check the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
The governor said public and private schools should resume fully from Monday, September 21.
Sanwo-Olu made the pronouncements during his eighteenth update on coronavirus as the Incident Commander. He also said it had become necessary to issue clarifications regarding the resumption of schools, to clear any confusion that might have arisen since the original announcement was made.
He stated, “It is important for all parents, guardians and stakeholders to note that there are different resumption schedules for Public and Private Schools in Lagos State.
“Public Schools will adopt a phased protocol for resumption of physical classes. Students in JS 3 and SS 2 in public schools in Lagos State are to resume physical classes from Monday, the 21st of September, 2020. This resumption will allow the JS 3 students to adequately revise and prepare for their forthcoming Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) organised by the Lagos State Examination Board, and scheduled for Tuesday, 6th October until Monday, 12th of October, 2020.
“The resumption will also afford the present SS 2 students an opportunity to prepare effectively for their transition to SS 3. The scheduled dates and venues for Entrance Examination into Lagos State Model Colleges will be announced in due course by the Lagos State Examination Board.
“For all other public-school classes – All Primary School Classes, and JS 1, JS 2, and SS 1, announcements for resumption will be made as soon as the Lagos State Government is satisfied that all necessary resumption protocols have been put in place.”
The governor said those yet to resume classes in public schools were to continue their lessons on the distance learning platforms (online, radio, television, and WhatsApp) pending their physical resumption. He said the private primary and secondary schools were permitted to resume from September 21.
“We have strongly advised school owners and managers to put safety first and open in phases similar to the announced schedule for public schools,” he stated. “We have also advised private primary and secondary school owners and managers to seriously consider implementing a staggered daily resumption schedule, classes on alternate days during the week, and utilisation of distance learning methods as a complement to physical classes,” the governor added.
He said all private primary and secondary schools were to comply with safety protocols and hygiene guidelines as instructed by the state government through the Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA).
Sanwo-Olu, however, said all “Pre-Primary – Nursery, Day-care Centres and Kindergarten – classes and schools in both public and private schools will remain closed until further announcements are made by the Lagos State Government.”
He disclosed that as at Friday, September 18, Lagos State had conducted close to 100,000 tests; and recorded a total of 18,854 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The governor said of that number, 15,598 had recovered in community, 592 were currently active in community, and 207 had died.
“Our management strategy in Lagos State continues to focus on a combination of admission to COVID-19 Care Centres for some cases, and Home-Based care and support for asymptomatic, mild or moderate cases,” he stated.
He said the state had decentralised its sample collection to the 57 local council development areas to increase testing for COVID-19. The governor said the state had also recently accredited 10 private laboratories, in addition to the existing four public laboratories.
“All incoming travellers to Lagos State must be certified by testing to be COVID-19-free before and after arrival in the state. We encourage outbound travellers to also do a COVID-19 test 72 hours before departure to avoid inconveniences at their respective destinations,” the governor said.
Sanwo-Olu said since the commencement of the flights into the country on September 5, “We have recorded a total of 50 flights – a daily average of six flights – carrying a total of almost 8,000 passengers. Despite this inbound volume of passengers, our positivity rate still remains on the downward trend at under five per cent.
He stressed that from October, “We will announce the decisions regarding the reopening of other sectors of the economy: night-clubs, bars, event centres, spas, public parks, and so on. For now, these will continue to remain closed, until fixed plans for reopening are announced in October 2020.”
Sanwo-Olu, however, warned, “We must not forget that the coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us, and we must, therefore, strive to prioritise the safety of all our children, teachers, parents, and the entire society.
“All of these resumption guidelines and protocols must be strictly adhered to by the various stakeholders.”