The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has said it will soon release guidelines for the reopening of schools across the country.
Although the guideline has not been released, an official said the schools will resume in phases with a batch resuming before the other. The government is also considering morning and afternoon classes, the official said.
The chairman of the PTF, Boss Mustapha, while speaking at the daily briefing on Wednesday, said the nation was faced with the challenge of millions of out-of-school children before the COVID-19 pandemic.
This, he said, has been compounded by the compelling need for closure of schools as part of the measures to limit the spread of the virus.
“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation was faced with the challenge of out-of-school children. This has now been compounded by the compelling need for closure of schools as part of the measures to limit the spread of the virus.
“The PTF has been deliberating on this situation and wish to inform Nigerians that the Federal Ministry of Education will roll out measures to be put in place for safe re-opening of our schools,” he said.
The federal government had on March 19 ordered the closure of all schools to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Risky but phased resumption
At the briefing, the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, said the country is not ready to take the risk of reopening schools.
He said the Nigerian government will rely on the opinion of experts and the guidance of WHO before announcing any school resumption dates.
“Until we are sure that our children can go to school and return safely without taking COVID-19 home, we are not ready to take the risk of opening schools,” he said.
He, however, said plans are in place to ensure children return to schools in phases.
He said the plan includes physical and social distancing in schools as well as ensuring proper sanitation and hygiene is maintained.
He noted that the plan entails adopting a two-shift system and allowing those who will write exams to return earlier than others.
“We may have classes in the morning and classes in the afternoon so that we will have the whole of the infrastructure divided.
”I am not sure we will have classes at night. But we can do with morning and afternoon for now,” he explained.
He urged state governments and owners of private schools to plan ahead on how to ensure maximum safety for students when the resumption plan is unveiled.