Education minister Adamu Adamu has directed the reopening of all schools on October 12 after six months of closure due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Adamu who stated this on Friday in a briefing in Abuja, said after due consultation with the Presidential Committee on COVID-19, “We have decided that all our 104 Unity Colleges should reopen on the 12th of October, 2020.”
“States and private school owners will work out the modalities for the opening of schools under their purview,” he said.
Government had ordered the closure of schools following the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic in the country in March and only allowed exit classes in secondary schools to resume in August for their terminal examination.
The minister explained that the painful but necessary decision of not reopening schools all these while was to ensure that the curve of infection rate is flattened and that it is safe to reopen schools.
“Having taken that painful but necessary decision, government has not rested on its oars in the areas of consultation with stakeholders, putting together guidelines for reopening of schools and preparations required of school owners to reopen,” he said.
He said with the level of preparations put to test and the flattening of the infection curve, “We have come to the conclusion that we have to review our earlier decision especially against the realization that COVID-19 has come to stay and that we have to live with it.”
“I am glad to report that in all our 104 Unity Colleges, there has not been a single case of COVID-19 infection so far. The isolated cases we have had in other schools are minimal. It is gratifying to note that on the whole, there has not being a single fatality amongst the exiting students,” he said.
He maintained that there is need for all institutions to obey and adhere to the guidelines for the reopening of schools as earlier announced by the presidential task force.
He said that any schools that failed to comply with the guidelines and should there be any outbreak, risk closure of their schools.
Adamu urged school owners to ensure social distancing procedures, develop and display at schools and conduct risk assessment with a view to understanding the gaps in the system.
Other measures include, safety and hygiene in all stages and phases of the school reopening process which promote behaviours that reduced spread and establish a staff/students Committee for regular surveillance, monitoring and enforcement of COVID 19 guidelines,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Minister said they consulted widely with stakeholders in the sector, including the Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria, (APSON), National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, (NAPPS). Provost of Colleges of Education, Rectors of Polytechnics, Vice Chancellors of Universities, State Governors and development partners.