The Federal Government has given some clear instructions for reopening the country’s schools.
The guidelines announced by the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, on Friday cover four thematic areas.
They include: staying home and learning safely before schools and learning facilities reopen; Reopening process; and Conditions for safety when learning facilities are reopened.
In each of these areas, actions and responsibilities, according to the Minister, are identified for various stakeholders such as “policy, financing, safe operations, learning, training, reaching the most marginalized, building back better, safety and hygiene, Infection Prevention and Control, (IPC).”
Nwajiuba stated that remaining at home and studying in a secure setting would resolve the basic physical protection needs of learners and educators and also ensure that all learners and members of their families remain safe.
“This means that all education environments must be inclusive irrespective of location, access to the internet, and socio-economic background,” he added.
In addition, the Minister announced recommended measures to safeguard the health , safety and welfare of learners who have access to remote learning while ensuring that quality results are attainable:
These include: “Conduct online training that not only prepares teachers to teach in a way that safeguards the health, safety, and security of the learners but also enables them to facilitate learning using 21st-century pedagogy based on Information and Communications Technology, (ICT).
“Revise to strengthen current remote learning programs initially launched for stronger curriculum backing towards improving relevance and quality on a grade level to level basis.
“Provide learners access to online resources materials online learning platforms, radio or television programs.
“Children and young people should at home and wash their hands regularly, maintain personal hygiene and adhere to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC), and World Health Organisation, (WHO), Covid-19 guidelines.”
However, the minister said that after due consultation with the presidential task force on COVID-19 (PTF), the federal and state ministries of education (SMoE) will decide when to reopen the schools.
He said before reopening, schools must also put in place measures such as safe distancing procedures; review existing policies, practices, and risk mitigation strategies; develop and display at schools’ simple context-specific reference protocols on day to day actions; conduct risk assessment and make recommendations for addressing the gaps, safety and hygiene.
Others are sensitization, financing, learning, and monitoring procedures.