COVID-19: Northern states Okays schools’ closure – Education commissioners in the 19 Northern States have resolved to reopen schools only when it is safe to do so, following the spike in cases of COVID-19.
The commissioners in a communique in Kaduna on Saturday, after a virtual meeting to consider schools reopening and other issues to strengthen the education sector, said keeping schools closed in the face of the spike in COVID-19 cases across the country was a sure step to ensure that children remained safe.
The communique was signed by Dr Shehu Makarfi, Commissioner for Education, Kaduna State, who is also the Chairman of the northern states School Exchange Programme (SEP).
Other participants were his counterparts from Bauchi, Gombe, Niger, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Taraba, Kogi, Kwara, Katsina, Kano, Borno and Jigawa.
The commissioners applauded the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, for taking a decisive stand against school reopening and pledged their full support.
They resolved that “schools should be reopened only when it is safe to do so and when states have complied with the minimum COVID-19 safety protocols as outlined by the NCDC.”
They also said their states would “participate in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination and other examinations only when it is safe to reopen schools and when coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Education.”
They planned to carry out holistic assessment of schools to determine safety status for reopening and submit reports to their respective governors for consideration.
They also urged their respective states to take steps to provide critical facilities required for reopening of schools as specified by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
“Schools’ infrastructure, such as dilapidated classrooms, students’ hostels, source of safe water, sanitary facilities, including hand washing equipment and security are critical and should be improved.
“We will equally clear schools of bushes and grasses, as well as fumigate school’s surroundings to support learning and ensure safety when schools resume,” they said.
They, however, appealed to the Federal Government to support states in putting safety measures in place for school reopening.
According to them, many states may not have the financial strength to embark on such a huge capital-intensive project.