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Suggestions on how school can safely be reopened (Opinion)

It is a good news that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had drawn a guideline that will ensure safe reopening of Education Sector. However, it will do us a lot of goods if individuals and organizations can put forth useful opinions and suggestions that can help in this course. Sequel to this, I carefully thought of and decided to share with the masses, through this medium, my suggestions on how to maintain safety within the school premises.

Since safety of students cannot be compromised, it is important that we leave no stone unturned. I must also agree and sincerely make it known that a single step missed can cause a great fall. In order to avoid a situation of closing down our schools after reopening them, all safety measures must be put in place. 

First off, students that have underlying health challenges should be urged to defer their admission, a semester or a session as the case may be. The Presidential Task Force members on COVID-19 had made it known numbers of time that nobody is immune to the virus, but people with pre-existing medical conditions are more vulnerable and they are more likely to give up a fight against the novel virus. Therefore, to safe our dear ones' life, people with pre-existing health conditions should be advised to stay safe at home.

Secondly, mandatory used of face mask should be encouraged within and outside school premises. Since it had been established that wearing of face mask reduces the chance of contracting the virus, students and staff of any school should be encouraged to habituate the wearing of face mask within and outside school premises in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Furthermore, all students should be equipped with a personal hand sanitizer, and they should be encouraged to own a personal clean handkerchief as well. Having these two materials and making use of them judiciously will help a great deal in ensuring maximum safety within and outside school premises.

Fourthly, canteen within the school premises should either not be allowed to operate at this period that we could not afford to make a mistake or they should only be allowed to sell take-away packages so that social distancing can be well ensured.

What more, online medium of teaching is a good development that should be encouraged. Sequel to this, lecturers should continue to send documents of to-be-delievered lectures through these platforms so that students can go through them before the periods of those lectures. With this strategy, a two hours physical lecture can be reduced to one hour since students already have the notes and will only have to listen to explanations and illustrations plus asking questions that are not clear to them. 

Most importantly, the number of people that go into any institution should be reduced in order to ensure physical distancing. I will, at this point, suggest that 100 level and 400 hundred level students should be allowed to go to school on Mondays and Wednesdays respectively while 200 level and 300 level students should be allowed to go to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays respectively, too. However, Fridays should be reserved for practical classes and students should be grouped in sessions.

Expectedly, every institution, just like Lagos State University, should have enough well working automated solar-powered hand washing machines within the school premises. This will contribute maximally in ensuring the safety of students as well as staff of such an institution. Meanwhile, I appeal to the Federal Government of Nigeria and all states governments to financially support this project. 

Conclusively, all school managements should create awareness of the presence of COVID-19 by ensuring that posters and bill boards are well displayed to sensitise and educate students and staff of the needs to continue staying safe and all students and staff identity should be confirmed before having access into the school premises. 

More opinions and suggestions will greatly be appreciated.

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