House Of Reps Calls For Postponement Of Reopening Of Schools By 3-Months
The House of Representatives’ Committee on Basic Education and Services has called for postponement of reopening of schools across the country by three months, as part of efforts aimed at ensuring adequate compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.
The Committee in a statement titled: ‘School resumption: Are we truly prepared?’ signed by its chairman, Hon. Julius Ihonvbere which received with some concern the decision of the Federal Government to reopen schools on January 18, 2021, however called for additional three months to enable subnational governments and private schools to put necessary measures in place.
Our position is that in spite of the very comprehensive protocols established by the Federal Ministry of Education, not up to 10 percent of our educational institutions have implemented five percent of the protocols.
“In most of our primary and secondary schools nationwide, adequate furniture, water and other sanitation and hygiene facilities do not exit. Many poor parents would require support with facemasks and sanitizers for their children. We have not heard of how this would be addressed.
“We doubt that teachers, instructors and school managers have been adequately trained and prepared to handle COVID-19 safety protocols. We also know that adequate funds have not been provided to schools to cope with demands that accompany the new normal.
“We would like to challenge the Federal Ministry of Education to first, independently monitor the extent of basic compliance with established protocols in all our schools and not just take words of state and local authorities as given. “The lives of our children are worth much more than the interests and comfort of any politician or bureaucrat.
It is only after a minimum 75 per cent nationwide compliance that we can seriously talk about reopening schools. “Given that in primary and secondary schools in particular, there are no facilities for effective social distancing in the classrooms, part of the compliance requirements must be the introduction of morning and afternoon batches into the schools when they reopen to reduce overcrowding.
“Special cleaning crews with sufficient sanitizers must be deployed to the classrooms before and after each stream. Hand washing before entering the classroom and use of sanitizer once seated must be made mandatory.