The Federal Government of Nigeria has given out guidelines for safe reopening of schools. The guidelines which was made in a joint effort with the Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Health and health safety experts, was signed by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and Minister of State (Education), Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba.
The guidelines which was released on Monday, July 13, outlined the modalities and requirements needed for the resumption of schools after the Covid-19 pandemic, but no actual date of school reopening was stated.
The guidelines demands that students be encouraged to maintain social distancing and stay at least 2 meters apart.
The Education Minister, Mallam Adamu disclosed that the need to develop the guidelines became imperative, “given that COVID – 19 may be with us for a while.”
“However, there are exceptions where the two-meter rule cannot be reasonably applied and other risk mitigation strategies may be adopted. Examples include early years, younger primary school children, and those with additional needs.
“In these circumstances, risk assessments must be undertaken with the best interests of the learners, teachers, and other education personnel in mind. The scenarios require organizing learners and children into small groups with consistent membership and compliance with the risk mitigation strategies. The membership of these groups should not change unless the NCDC public health guideline suggests otherwise.
“COVID – 19 pandemic poses an enormous risk to the health and safety of learners, teachers, parents, school administrators, education practitioners, and the wider community…More than 1.5 billion children and young people globally have been affected by school and university closures.
“As a responsible government, it is also our duty to provide comprehensive guidelines for a safe and hitch-free reopening of schools and learning facilities. We do so knowing that the health, safety, and security of learners, teachers, education personnel, and families are priorities.
“Our aim is to identify and strengthen programmes that will guarantee the recovery of learning gaps resulting from the pandemic.
“The guidelines were drafted in close coordination with health, environmental, education, and school safety experts who were tasked with the responsibility of charting a pathway for safely reopening our schools and learning facilities for quality teaching and learning.”
The government is set to conduct a rapid assessment which will help give a headway for upgrading infrastructure and facilities such as classrooms, furniture, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene-WASH and ICT facilities.
Adamu said the guidelines also highlight the urgent need to maintain and improve upon distance-learning programmes.