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COVID-19: FG confirms January 18 school resumption date

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The Federal Ministry of Education has announced that the January 18 school resumption date stands, in spite of the rising cases of coronavirus in the country.

A total of 23 people died from the virus on Thursday, the highest ever daily figure, with almost 1,500 new cases recorded.

A statement released on Thursday by the Director of Press and Public Relations, Ben Goong, said the ministry undertook a comprehensive appraisal of the situation before arriving at this conclusion.

“After extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders, including State Governors, Commissioners of Education, Proprietors and heads of institutions, staff unions and students, the consensus of opinion is that the resumption date of 18th January should remain, while parents and respective institutions must ensure full compliance with COVID-19 protocols,” he said

He said the protocols involved include compulsory wearing of face masks by all students, teachers and workers in all schools, temperature checks and hand washing facilities at strategic locations in all schools.

“Ensuring constant supply of water and sanitizers, Enforcement of maintenance of social distancing and suspension of large gatherings such as assembly and visiting days, Avoiding overcrowding, including limitations in class sizes and hostel occupancy,” he said.

According to Goong, other protocols include availability of functional health clinics with facilities for isolation and transportation of suspected cases to medical facilities.

The protocols also include adherence to all other non-pharmaceutical protocols, restrictions and containment measures as may be prescribed/ approved by the PTF from time to time.

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) in December 2020 had ordered schools to remain closed till January 18.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said, “When we decided on that date, it was just a target toward what we are working on.”

While many universities have announced their resumption dates, the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Biodun Ogunyemi, said schools were not ready because they lack capacity to ensure the safety of all concerning COVID-19

The number of active cases of COVID-19 has been surging for the past few weeks with increasing fatalities, a situation that has become a concern to the government and the citizenry.

Nigeria is yet to procure any vaccine against the virus and experts have continued to advise Nigerians to adhere strictly to the safety protocols earlier outlined by the WHO and NCDC to curtail its spread.

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