Nigeria’s Education Minister insists on Jan. 18 for resumption of schools

Nigeria's Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, has said that the January 18, 2021 schools' resumption date will not be…

Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, has said that the January 18, 2021 schools’ resumption date will not be changed.In a statement on Thursday, the Minister said the decision to maintain the resumption date was the aftermath of “extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders, including state governors, commissioners of education, proprietors and heads of institutions, staff unions and students respectively.

The statement issued on behalf of the Minister by the ministry’s Director, Press and Public Relations, Bem Goong, urged parents and respective institutions to ensure full compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

”Sequel to the hint given during the press briefing on 12 January, 2021 for the review of the proposed resumption date of 18th January 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 18th January should remain, while parents and respective institutions must ensure full compliance with COVID-19 protocols,” the statement said.

The protocols include: Compulsory wearing of Facemasks 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 and  Enforcement of maintenance of social distancing and suspension of large gatherings such as assembly and visiting days.

Others are Avoiding overcrowding, including limitations in class sizes and hostel occupancy; Availability of functional health clinics with facilities for isolation and transportation of suspected cases to medical facilities; Adherence to all other non-pharmaceutical protocols, restrictions and containment measures as may be prescribed/ approved by the PTF from time to time.

“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,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, some state governments have announced their school resumption dates. For instance, the Anambra State Government in south-eastern Nigeria has announced that schools in the state will resume on February 1, 2021, instead of the January 18, 2021 date announced the country’s Minister of Education.

The Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, who announced the new date during his broadcast at the Governor’s Lodge, Onitsha, explained that the extension was to enable the principals and teachers to prepare for the return of the children to schools.

The governor also said the shift in the reopening date was due to the increase in Covid-19 cases recorded in the state.

He explained that 110 new case of COVID-19 were recorded between December 7, 2020 and January11, 2021 and that the state has revived its testing capacity.

For the universities, the various institutions are announcing their new academic calendar after the public universities were shut down in March 2020 due to the nationwide strike by the University teachers union.

The Senate of the University of Jos in northern Nigeria has said that it has considered and approved an amended Academic Calendar for 2019/2020 Session of the University.

A statement by Abdullahi Abdullahi, Deputy Registrar Information and Publications of the university said that the Senate at its 4th Special Meeting for the 2019/2020 Session held on Monday 11th January, 2021, approved that students would resume for the continuation of the 2019/2020 Session as from Friday 22nd January, 2021 with the reopening of the various campuses of the University.

According to the amended Academic Calendar, Lectures would continue as from Monday, 25th January, 2021.

“Students and members of the University of Jos community should please note that all the COVID-19 Safety Protocols would be strictly enforced as directed by the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force of the Federal Government. These include the use of Face Masks, frequent Hand washing, use of Hand Sanitizers as well as social distancing,” the statement added.

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