2 Weeks after Makinde Reopened Schools in Oyo, Does he Deserve an Accolade or Blame for COVID-19 Situation?
Oyo State Government, under the auspicious leadership of Engr. Oluwaseyi Makinde, defiled the Federal Government directives by ordering the schools in the state to reopen. Makinde authorized the final year students in primary (Primary 6 pupils) and secondary schools (JSS 3 and SSS 3 students) in Oyo State to resume academic activities on the 6th July, 2020 amid COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Seyi Makinde had on May 21st ordered the closure of all schools in the state, due to COVID-19 that is ravaging the world.
The states Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr. Olasunkanmi Olaleye, while speaking on the resumption, has earlier assured the parents, guidance and all stakeholders of the childrens safety, stressing that the state government had taken necessary steps to guide the children.
Before this decision, the Oyo State has earlier relaxed the curfew imposed on the state following the advent of the ravaging coronavirus pandemic. The State COVID-19 Task Force, made the decision public after a two-and-a-half-hour meeting presided by its chairman, Governor Seyi Makinde, added that the curfew would now run from 10pm to 4am.
Also, the resumption of work by all categories of workers at the state secretariat was slated for June 22; then opening up of mosques and churches which were operating at 25 per cent capacity, where all worshippers are to compulsorily wear face masks. The decision to limit public gathering to not more than 25 persons were also made. It should be recalled that the secretariat was earlier shut on March 27 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and later reopened to staffs on grade level 13 and above from Monday April 27, before it was fully opened to all other staffers on Monday, June 22.
During the past 2weeks of students resumption, it was observed that both public and private schools in the state particularly in Ibadan, the State capital complied with the COVID-19 protocol by mounting hand washing buckets and sanitizers at the entrance of each school.
Pictures from some schools in Ibadan.
However, observing the current situation of COVID-19 in the state, one can easily deduce the effect that the action of the state Government has brought to the state in the past 2 weeks. Before the reopening of schools in State, Oyo State was in 3rd position among all the reported Coronavirus cases in Nigeria after Lagos being at the forefront and followed by FCT. Then 2 weeks before students resumption in the State, between June 21 to July 4, total number of coronavirus cases was 600, with overall total number of reported cases in state stood at 1,472, then 2 weeks when students are back to school between July 5 to 17, 604 new cases of coronavirus was recorded, bringing the total number of COVID-19 reported cases in Oyo State to 2,076.
From the above analysis, it is clearly shown that the number of COVID-19 cases in the State is not reducing, there is not significant improvement at all despite the Governments effort to combat the menace of the pandemic, though the situation remains stagnant as the state still maintain its position as the third State with reported cases in Nigeria.
Then, from what we have experienced in the past two weeks, did Gov. Makinde deserve an accolade for his action or he should be held responsible for risking the lives of the innocent children? Also, is it recommendable for other States to emulate the courage of the State Governor by reopening the schools in their various states? Even though some states are already showing signal to reopen their schools; among those states are Ekiti and Osun State. Would you advise the Federal Government to consider the secondary school final year students to write this year West African Examination Council Examination (WAEC) Exams?
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