The schools in Nigeria - nursery, primary, secondary, higher institutions, have been closed since the last week of March 2020 when the federal government due to the Covid-19 global pandemic ordered the closure of schools to prevent an outbreak of the virus.
Four months after, there is agitation from different quarters for the reopening of schools. The Federal Ministry of Education in conjunction with other relevant ministries are looking to reopening of schools.
The Ministry says reopening timing should be guided by the best interest of learners and overall public health consideration, and that State governments should be guided by recommendations, advice, or directives from the World Health Organization (WHO), Federal Ministry of Health, and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for effective risk avoidance and mitigation of the effect of COVID-19.
These are the recommendations schools must meet before they can be reopened:
1. Safe Distancing: In schools and other learning facilities, learners should be supported to stay two meters apart. As schools and learning facilities reopen, they must implement safe distancing measures that minimize and isolate risk. Alternatively, each school can engage in outdoor learning, staggered attendance, alternate attendance, platooning, decreased interaction, flexible schedule for a safe learning environment.
2. Equip and resource schools for improved teaching and learning methods for special needs learners.
3. Provide WASH facilities including soap, hand sanitizers, and girls’ dignity kits in schools
4. Establish and adequately equip dispensaries and clinics as appropriate
5. Create adequate classrooms and learning spaces to maintain safe distancing in schools
6. Provide better-ventilated classrooms and TLC's
7. Use solar power and alternative energy sources for electricity, and boreholes for water.
The agitation seems to be more from the private schools, Dr. Lawrence Holumidey, president of Association of Private Schools in Ogun State insists the private schools in Ogun State are able to meet the requirements for reopening demanded by the Federal Ministry of Education. Are the public schools managed by the Federal Ministry of Education able to meet these recommendations?
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