FG bans assemblies, overcrowding, others as schools resume Monday

The Federal Government, on Thursday, banned overcrowding and large gatherings such as assemblies and visiting days, as schools reopen on Monday.

It also put limitations to class sizes and hostel occupancy and asked the schools to ensure compulsory wearing of face masks by all students, teachers and workers, as well ensure temperature checks and put hand washing facilities in strategic locations in all schools.

The government also asked the school authorities to ensure constant supply of water and sanitisers, and make available functional health clinics with facilities for isolation and transportation of suspected cases to medical facilities.

The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, gave the conditions in a statement by the Director of Press in the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Bem Goong.

According to him, the decision to maintain the resumption date is the aftermath of “extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders, including state governors, commissioners of education, proprietors and heads of institutions, staff unions and students.”

Adamu told parents and the respective institutions to ensure full compliance with COVID19 protocol.

The statement read in part, “Sequel to the hint given during the press briefing on January 12, 2021 for the review of the proposed resumption date of January 18, 2021, the Federal Ministry of Education has undertaken a comprehensive appraisal of the situation.

“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 January 18 should remain, while parents and respective institutions must ensure full compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

“These measures, which are to ensure safe reopening of schools for academic activities, will be subject to constant review as we urge teachers, school administrators and other stakeholders to ensure strict compliance.”

When asked how the government intends to curtail further spread of the virus with the planned resumption, Adamu school authorities would be asked to ensure strict compliance with existing and fresh guidelines that would be released.

He added, “We shall be warning stakeholders, particularly school authorities to ensure strict compliance with protocols.

“For instance, we will have no choice than to enforce compulsory use of face masks by teachers and students.

“We will also make it clear that we shall be reviewing the situation from time to time after resumption with a view to taking necessary decisions.”

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Recall that the United Nations Children’s Fund had called on governments across the world to spare no effort to keep schools open or prioritise them in reopening plans despite the increasing cases of COVID-19.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Florence Obi, has inaugurated the COVID-19 Task Force Central Team for the institution ahead of resumption.

The team, which is headed by Dr Kingsley Akaba, has Dr Paul Odey, Dr Leku Odey, Dr Alexander Peter, Dr Bassey Ubi and Mrs Josephine Bisong as members.

While inaugurating the task force, Obi charged members “to coordinate all the terms of reference as established by the Presidential Task Force and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in the campus.”

She also said the taskforce would oversee the activities of all sub-committees and execution of their goals and report directly to the vice-chancellor’s office on the day-to-day activities of the COVID-19 task force.

There was tension at the Anambra State Government House on Thursday over an alleged COVID-19 mass infection of government officials.

Reports said those infected by the disease included Governor Willie Obiano, his wife, Ebelechukwu, and other top government officials.

OSBC correspondence had reported that a governor’s aide said Obiano had shunned public functions since Christmas.

But a statement by the media aide to Primus Odili, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr  Chike Okoli, said the report of COVID-19 infection was a cheap blackmail.

“The recent viral post that there has been a coronavirus scare in government house is not only infantile but the height of mischief, obviously driven by envy and jealousy.

“For the records, there’s no such scare in government house. The governor is 100 per cent fine and going about his administrative duties diligently.”

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