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Nigerian govt updates guidelines for reopening of schools, bans visiting day

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The Federal Government on Thursday updated the guidelines for the reopening of schools across the country.

The government had earlier on Thursday gave schools the go-ahead to resume academic activities on January 18.

The Director of Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Bem Goong, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja, said the government suspended the conduct of morning assembly and visiting days in schools.

He added that the government approved the reopening of schools after undertaking a comprehensive appraisal of the proposal on school resumption

The statement read: “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 – the compulsory wearing of facemasks by all students, teachers, and workers in all schools.

“There should also be temperature checks and handwashing facilities at strategic locations in all schools.

“Ensuring a constant supply of water and sanitisers.

“Enforcement of maintenance of social distancing and suspension of large gatherings such as assembly and visiting days.

“Avoiding overcrowding, including limitations in class sizes and hostel occupancy.

“Availability of functional health clinics with facilities for isolation and transportation of suspected cases to medical facilities.

“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 the 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.”

READ ALSO: Nigerian govt approves January 18 date for resumption of schools

In the initial guidelines released by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in October last year, the government ordered schools across the country to have detailed communication protocols that include parents, school health teams, school authorities, and local state officials among others.

The National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, who announced the guidelines at a media briefing at the time, said they were developed by the PTF in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Education and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

He said: “They (schools) must also have a system for providing regular updates for parents, staff, and relevant authorities, as well as communicate changes to procedures effectively.

“Specifically, school authorities have the responsibility to ensure that everyone gaining access to their schools is screened properly.

“Boarding schools must have identified areas for screening and putting positive students aside.

“There must be appropriate waste management systems.

“Health facilities that are within the schools that serve the schools should have the ability to cater to an outbreak and a response protocol must be in place for these schools for students who test positive.”

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