By Christiana Onuoha
Final year students in Abia State may be going back to school, as stakeholders in the state’s education sector are considering August 10, 2020, for reopening of schools to enable students in exit classes prepare and write their relevant examinations.
This was the outcome of a one day submit held at Michael Okpara Auditorium of Government House, Umuahia, where it was agreed that the planned school reopening is subject to verifiable compliance with all the proposed COVID-19 Protocals, prevention and control measures.
In his opening remarks at the submit, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, insisted that while the state was desirous of ensuring her high flying students resume classes as quickly as possible, but maintained that his administration would not sacrifice the health of the children for anything.
According to him, “we must find a balance between ensuring that they continue to enjoy good health and protection from this virus and continuing their education. I therefore urge all of us to take responsibility for our protection from this virus as well as the protection of our children and loved ones. Our lives cannot stop because of this virus but we can take necessary measures to protect ourselves and loved ones from the pandemic”, he said.
Addressing newsmen after the summit, the Secretary to Abia State Government, Barr Chris Ezem, listed some of the agreed pre-conditions to include clearing of school premises, decontamination/fumigation, provision of sick bays with relevant medical staff, digital thermometers, compulsory provision of hand washing stations as well as maintenance of social distance with maximum of 20 students in each classroom.
Ezem who informed that the measures apply to both public and private schools in the state listed other conditions to include ban on gatherings among the students, ban on food vendors in the schools, and assured that the government will provide original pocket-size hand sanitizers for all the school children in the exit classes. Head teachers were also directed to ensure that the students spend a minimum of 10 minutes daily to learn about COVID-19 and its associated prevention and control measures while charging parents to ensure that their children have and wear face masks to school.
On planned reopening of tertiary institutions in the state, the summit agreed that each school will submit its plan for resumption of exit classes to the Secretary to State Government along with detailed plans to ensure that students are protected from the virus .
The stakeholders who spoke at the education summit in Umuahia included representatives of PTA’s, proprietors of private schools, the clergy, traditional rulers, the academia among others.