Confusion over school resumption

Posted by News Express | 1 September 2020 | 1,958 times

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As some states across the country announce dates and plans to reopen schools, the federal government has called for caution, urging them to learn from the experiences of other countries where the opening of schools led to an increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 and fatalities.

There is confusion in the country as stakeholders differed on the suitability of opening schools.

While some state governments said they would soon reopen schools, others said they would not. Various groups and government agencies are also issuing conflicting statements while some students of public schools said they have been short-changed by being forced to remain at home for long.

This is at a time when private schools populated by children of the elite completed their academic sessions through virtual teaching because they have access to technological devices.

Speaking during the 62nd joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, warned states against reopening schools.

According to him, as Nigeria perfected plans to re-open more sectors, everyone must support the winning strategy which was anchored on the ability of health institutions to contain the virus.

“It is in the above context that the PTF appreciates the on-going calls for re-opening of the education sector and indeed some sub-nationals are already making preparations for such.

“Whilst the PTF does not discourage making such preparations, we need to be guided by experiences from countries such as Germany, France, the United States and the UK where the opening of schools in some cities led to an increase in confirmed cases and fatalities,” Mustapha said.

He also noted that the task force would be submitting the seventh Interim Report to President Muhammadu Buhari and would be guided by his directives on the next phase.

Mustapha said that the decisions and approval would be transmitted at the national briefing on Thursday, September 3, 2020.

He said that as Nigeria enters the last few days of the extended eased lockdown phase of its national response this week, the PTF, like the global community was confronted with a series of emerging new developments around the characteristics of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The PTF has also observed that from the point the global numbers entered the 20th million, growth in cases has been on the average of a million cases every four to five days. This is a trend that deserves a lot of attention and the PTF is doing that.

“For us in Nigeria, the last three weeks have shown a slowdown in the number of confirmed cases. Indeed, in the last four months of testing, the lowest daily figure of confirmed cases, 138 was reported on August 30, 2020,” he added.

•Excerpted from a Daily Trust report.

Source: News Express

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