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Published On: Fri, Aug 7th, 2020

Schools risk lockdown over violation of COVID-19 safety guidelines

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By Stanley Onyekwere

Few days into resumption of classes, total lockdown measures await any school within Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) that violates the established COVID-19 guidelines for the safety of students who returned to classes to prepare for their exit examinations.
Making this point, Chairman of FCTA Ministerial Task-team on COVID 19 Enforcement, Ikharo Attah who led the team to inspect some schools within the nation’s capital, warned that the administration cannot afford to expose the students to the danger of contracting the virus, and therefore will not compromise the guidelines for resumption of the schools.
Attah added that the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Bello has made it clear to heads of schools within the territory, that he is not ready to risk the life of any student or teacher, hence will not condone negligence in handling of the situation.
According to him, any school, both public and private that fails to adhere strictly to the guidelines would be shut down immediately, while their students will be transferred to other serious schools, while the management of such schools will be sanctioned appropriately.
“Any school that fails to comply, we will do everything within our power to safeguard the students. And such schools will likely be shut down through legal processes and the students will have to go and write exams somewhere else, pending when the school complies with the safety guidelines, and those responsible for The school mismanagement will be brought to book.
“The FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Bello has been very clear about it, that he is not going to risk the life of any student or teacher. He said that everyone must come in within the context of safety”, he stressed.
He however observed that most of the public and private schools his team visited to ascertain their level of compliance, had shown about 80 percent in their preparednes to the safety of students and teachers in their respective schools, by providing adequate hand washing hand points, sanitizer and decontaminated environment.
He particularly revealed that the compliance level at Ragina Pasis and Stella Maris, both private schools, Government Science and Technical College and some of the public schools within the city centre was commendable.
He equally noted with dismay the attitude of the Heads of Model Junior Secondary School, located in Asokoro, for their alleged failure to adequately prepare the school environment before the resumption.
While urging those defaulting to immediately make amends, the Task-team leader hinted that the inspection will continue at the satellites towns tomorrow, as the administration will not relent efforts to ensuring that the school environment was safe.
“ From our own point it is already encouraging, in the sense that the schools we have been to, both government and private, if we assess them at a point of average, you will score them about 85 percent preparedness. They have complied. You could see hand washing points, hand sanitizer and there was also social distancing in their classrooms.
“ In some classes where they used to have about 80 students , have been reduced to 20 and 25 in some cases. In some of the schools, we also saw well equipped healthcare facilities.
“In some of the schools, we are also mot very happy and we have warned very strongly that they should brace up”, he stressed.

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