Bauchi state government has ordered the reopening of primary and secondary schools across the state with conditions that the government said must be met before schools can operate.
The Commissioner of Education, Dr Aliyu Tilde made this known in Bauchi on Friday during a press conference with journalists where he rolled out guidelines and conditions for school reopening. He noted that his ministry will use template guidelines similar to the one they used for SS3 students during their West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) a few months ago.
“Given the low COVID-19 cases reported in the country now and the pressure from parents and councilors of the side effects of prolonged school closure. Some states have already reopened their schools, fully or partially.
This development led to the meeting of the School Exchange Program Commissioner of Education of the 19 Northern states to discuss, among other things, the issue of schools reopening and calendar last week in Abuja, where a decision was taken that, subject to the approval of our respective governors, schools will reopen between now and 30 October 2019.
“The Ministry of Education summoned stakeholders to conclude arrangements for the reopening. At the meeting, yesterday were representatives of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, State Universal Basic Education Board, Bauchi State Agency for Nomadic Education. Special Schools Management Board, Army Education Corps, Nigerian Association of Private Schools, Nigerian Union of Teachers.
Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, Association of Nigerian Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools, Parents Teachers Association, Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria, etc.,” he said.
The commissioner revealed that at the stakeholders’ meeting, it was resolved that all primary and secondary schools in the state can start reopening on 12 October 2020, subject to the compliance of each school with Covid-19 regulations on school reopening. He added that the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) focal person on COVID-19 in the state will monitor and ensure compliance with the conditions stipulated and that all schools with low-class populations can resume fully and run their usual school hours since social distance can easily be achieved while observing other COVID-19 school protocols while also directing overcrowded schools to adopt staggered school hours for children to enable the implementation of Covid-19 rules.
The commissioner further stated that the responsibility for reopening schools would be shared among the state government, local governments, schools, parents, and PTA. “Government will be responsible for the provision of water, holding room, testing, health focal person, monitoring of compliance, and surveillance.
Parents will provide face masks for their children on all school days. Schools under the Ministry of Education shall use part of their N700/child PTA charges to provide infrared thermometer, COVID-19 buckets, and soap, while the Ministry takes care of fumigation.
“Schools under SUBEB and private schools can charge N200/child for the provision of infrared thermometer, Covid19 bucket, soap, and decontamination.
Schools can, where the need arises, use between now and 12 October to collect the N200 from parents to enable them to meet the requirements mentioned. The 2019/2020 school calendar will continue until the end of this year and a new school year begins on 4 January 2021 and ending on 13 August 2021,” the commissioner added.