In view of the low number of COVID-19 cases being reported on daily basis in recent times, the Bauchi State Government has finally decided to reopen all primary and secondary schools in the state with effect from October 12, 2020.
This was disclosed on Friday by the state Commissioner for Education Dr Aliyu U. Tilde, at a press briefing held at the ministry.
According to the commissioner, schools were closed at the end of second term in March this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the schools remained closed until five weeks ago when government reopened some of them for candidates to write their West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Tilde informed that some states like Lagos, Kogi, Taraba, Plateau, among others, have already reopened their schools fully or partially due to the low COVID-19 cases reported in the country now and pressure from parents and counsellors of the side effects of the prolonged school closure.
“This development led to the meeting of school exchange programme Commissioners of Education of the 19 Northern states to discuss, among other things, the issue of schools reopening and calendar last week in Abuja, where a decision was taken that subject to approval of our respective governors, schools will be reopened between now and October 30, 2020,” the commissioner said.
He added that as a follow up to the Abuja meeting, his ministry summoned a stakeholders’ meeting yesterday (Thursday) to conclude arrangements for the reopening, adding that representatives of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, State Universal Basic Education Board, Bauchi State Agency for Nomadic Education, Special Schools Management Board, Army Education Corps, Nigerian Association of Private Schools, Nigerian Unions of Teachers, Academy Staff Union of Secondary Schools, Association of Nigerian Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools, Parents Teachers Association and Association of Private Schools Owners of Nigeria attended the meeting.
According to Tilde, the stakeholders meeting came up with the resolutions that, “all primary and secondary schools in the state to start reopening on October 12, 2020 with the compliance of Covid-19 regulations on school reopening.”
The commissioner further said that in state government will expand the COVID-19 school reopening template, which was successfully used to reopen SS3 classes in August, for the reopening of the other classes next month.
He, however, warned that only schools which meet COVID-19 protocol requirements will be allowed to open, adding that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control focal person on COVID-19 in the state will monitor and ensure compliance with the conditions stipulated in the schedule for reopening of school.
Tilde said that all schools with low-class populations can resume fully and run their usual school hours since social distance can easily be achieved and urged such schools to observe other COVID-19 school protocols.
According to the commissioner, to meet COVID-19 requirements for social distance, schools with moderate and high-class sizes will stagger their school hours and days vertically and horizontally.
He, however, called on all parents to take full responsibility on their children by providing facemask for them on all school days.
He directed public schools in the state to use part of their N700 PTA charges per student to provide infrared thermometer, COVID-19 buckets and soap, adding that his ministry takes care of fumigation of schools.
The state government, according to Tilde, will be responsible for the provision of water, holding room, testing, health focal person, monitoring of compliance and surveillance.
He then warned that any schools that opened without decontamination will be shut down by the NCDC focal person in the state.
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