Primary, secondary schools resume amid COVID-19 concerns

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Primary and secondary schools resumed on Monday in many parts of the country with governments and parents expressing concerns about compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

There was low turnout in many parts of Lagos State as most schools, which opened their gates for pupils, appeared to be taking their time, in line with the government’s directives on gradual reopening of schools.

Some schools asked their nursery pupils to resume, despite government’s directive that pre-primary school pupils should not resume yet.

The state’s 1,017 public primary schools are yet to resume.

When visited Akilo Primary School at Ogba in Ikeja and Anwar-Ur-Islam Primary School at Agege, only the head teachers were seen on the premises.

The Head Teacher of Anwar-Ur-Islam, Mrs. Bukonla Famutimi, said schools had not resumed because primary school teachers were on training for the Eko EXCEL (Excellence in Child Education Learning) initiative, which started late last year.

Many private primary schools our correspondent visited yesterday had either not resumed or only resumed for partial classes.

Building Block Montessori Primary School at Ilupeju was undergoing renovations. Its administrator said the school would resume next week.

At Master Piece Nursery and Primary School, also at Ilupeju, the administrator, Ms. Omolola Adigun, said the school would resume on October 5.

Until then, she said the pupils would hold revision classes online.

Pupils resumed at De Great Grace School in Agege and the children were asked to wear face masks and pay N200 for a personal bottle of hand sanitiser.

“Our pupils have resumed except the nursery classes. We asked them to come with their nose masks and N200 for hand sanitiser that they can put in their pockets,” said head of school, Mrs. Veronica Awuje.

At Soundhope Montessori School at Baruwa in Ipaja, only few pupils resumed.

It was observed that there were no more than three pupils in a class with them maintaining social distancing and use of face masks.

Speaking with newsmen, the school’s head teacher, Mrs. Adesola Adediran, explained that serious academic work had begun but parents were still scared of allowing their wards to resume.

The turnout was equally low at Westown College in Ayobo, Ipaja.

The head teacher, Mrs. Elizabeth Abatan, said things had not really gone back to normal.

At Prime Focus Schools in Ipaja, the turnout was fairly impressive.

The pupils used face masks and observed social distancing in class.

The head teacher, Mr. Niyi Ijalusi, expressed delight at the turnout being the first day of resumption.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some schools at Iyana-Ipaja and Egbeda were still locked.

On Victoria Island and Lekki, some private schools continued to teach their pupils through virtual learning.

At the Senior High School in Alimosho, only Junior Secondary 3 (JS 3) and Senior Secondary 2 (SS 2) pupils were allowed to enter the school premise with face masks or shields.

Security officials at the Faith Academy at Gowon Estate in Ipaja said only SS 3 pupils had resumed while others will resume on Thursday.

Head teacher at Homat Group of Schools at Odogunyan in Ikorodu, Mr. Abdul Ademola, said the school would keep guiding the pupils on COVID-19 protocols.

The Lagos State Ministry of Education has approved resumption dates for the 2020 to 2021 school session.

According to the timetable, public and private schools below tertiary level resumed first term academic activities yesterday (September 21, 2020).

The term is expected to run until December 18, 2020, while the second term will begin January 4, 2021 and run until April 16, 2021.

The Director of the Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA), Mrs. Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, urged public and private schools in the state to follow the harmonised school calendar.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) yesterday inaugurated and donated a COVID-19-compliant primary school classroom block in Imo State.

NAN reports that the inauguration was performed by the NHRC Executive Secretary, Mr. Tony Ojukwu, at Central School, Ezi-East (Old St. Dominic’s Primary School) in Umueleagwa, Onicha Ezinihitte Local Government Area.

Kano State government yesterday urged proprietors, parents and other stakeholders to exercise patience as it adopted proactive measures to fast-track safe school reopening in the state.

Education Commissioner Sunusi Kiru announced this in a statement by the Public Relations Officer of the ministry, Aliyu Yusuf.

Kiru spoke when members of the All Private and Voluntary Institutions Proprietors Association of Nigeria visited him in his office.

The Oyo State government yesterday warned head teachers of public primary schools against non-compliance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.

It queried some schools that refused to comply with extant guidelines for resumption of schools.

The Chairman of the state’s Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Nureni Aderemi Adeniran, gave the warning during a monitoring of schools in Ibadan, the state capital.

Addressing reporters after the inspection, Adeniran said: “We want to ensure total commitment to safety in our schools. We cannot afford to endanger the lives of our pupils and the workers.”

In Osun State, many pupils resumed school in their face masks, though there were others who did not wear theirs.

Before they entered their school premises, the pupils were made to wash their hands and have their temperatures checked.

Most teachers observed safety protocols at Fakunle Unity School, Osogbo Government High School, Ataoja High School and Laro Middle School, all in Osogbo.

But during break, many pupils were seen moving around without their face masks.

When the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Jamiu Olawumi, was contacted, he said the pupils were having one straight session and that they complied with safety protocols of COVID-19.

The Principal of Anglican Central Government Middle School, Ilare, Ile-Ife, Mr. Rufus Ojedokun, hailed the state government for the re-opening of schools.

He described as impressive the turnout of pupils and teachers in schools, adding that there was over 90 per cent attendance.

Also, Coordinator for Triumphant Baptist Private Primary School, Ilare, Ile-Ife, Mrs. Kehinde Olafimihan, welcomed the school resumption.

The head teacher of Oduduwa College, Ile-Ife, Mr. Ademola Sanusi, said almost 90 per cent of the pupils resumed because majority of them were tired of staying at home.

Vice Principal of Ambassador College, Johnson Agboola, said as a private school, they were happy at the resumption as their workers and pupils were in school.

The Chairman of Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Prof. Femi Akinwumi, urged the state’s primary school teachers to dedicate themselves to duties after seven months closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The chairman’s call was conveyed in a statement in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, by the SUBEB Director of Social Mobilisation, Mr. Tope Babalola.

The Akwa Ibom State government has begun distribution of face masks to public primary and secondary schools as school resumed yesterday.

Education Commissioner, Mrs. Enobong Mbobo, announced this at the symbolic presentation of face masks by female appointees in the ministry to school children.

In Ogun State, public and private secondary schools resumed yesterday with most of them complying with the COVID-19 protocols.

The state government had also announced staggering of school hours for different categories of pupils and students.

The State Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Mr. Samson Oyelere, said schools in the state had resumed fully with teaching starting immediately.

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