SCHOOLS TO RE-OPEN FOR 1ST TERM ON MONDAY 12TH OCTOBER.
All Schools within the Federal Capital Territory are to re-open for the first term of the 2020/2021 academic session on Monday, 12th of October 2020. This was revealed by the Honourable Minister of the FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello during a press briefing held on Thursday, 8th October in his office. According to the FCT Minister, boarding students are to resume on Sunday, 11th of October while day students will resume on the 12th of October. Malam Bello noted that the decision to reopen the schools was taken based on the directive from the Federal Ministry of Education that states should work out modalities for the safe re-opening of schools and after painstaking consultations with various stakeholder groups in the education sector.
According to the Minister, these groups include the FCT Parents Teachers Association, the Health and Human Services Secretariat of the FCTA, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, Nigeria Union of Teachers amongst others. Malam Bello pointed out that the collaboration of these stakeholder groups ensured the safe re-opening of secondary schools to conduct the terminal examinations for JSS 3 and SSS 3 students in August without a single case of COVID-19 reported. Based on this, the Minister said “We are therefore convinced that we can safely re-open our schools on the aforementioned dates”. He enjoined parents, guardians, and stakeholders to complement the Administrations’ efforts by further creating awareness and sensitizing their wards on the need to adhere strictly to health and safety measures as stipulated by the relevant health authorities.
These, he said, include regular washing of hands with soap under running water, use of sanitizer, use of facemasks while maintaining physical distancing. The Minister also used the event to remind residents of the FCT, especially parents and guardians that the virus has not been eliminated yet as it still remains a deadly disease, adding that now was not the time to be complacent. He also commended frontline health personnel that worked tirelessly to ensure that the virus is largely contained in the FCT with relatively low morbidity and condoled with families of those who lost their lives to the virus. A minute silence was also observed for the repose of the soul of the Acting Secretary for Education Alh. Umaru Marafa who died while preparations were being made for the re-opening of schools.
While giving details on the guidelines regulating the re-opening of schools, the Chairman of the FCT School Resumption Committee Dr. Fatima Abdulrahman said that on resumption on the 11th of October, students will use the first week for revision and the second week to write the second term examinations which were suspended following the sudden closure of all schools at the onset of the pandemic. Dr Abdulrahman continued that on the conclusion of the examinations, the first term of the 2020/2021 session will conclude on the 18th of December. This essentially means that there will be no third term in the 2019/2020 academic session.
The other guidelines as released by the Education Secretariat are:
i. All Public and Private schools in FCT should put in place adequate safety measures based on the Re-Opening of Schools guidelines which has been set.
ii. The Committee on Reopening of Schools and the Department of Quality Assurance under the Education Secretariat will work together by undertaking a regular evaluation of all Schools in FCT and embark on inspection and monitoring of schools to ensure strict compliance to the laid down health protocols of Covid-19.
iii. Any School found wanting will face appropriate sanctions, including closure.
iv. The FCT Administration through the School committee on resumption has taken proactive steps ahead of the resumption to safeguard the Students and Teachers as they return back to academic activities which include:
a. Compulsory fumigation of all public schools in FCT.
b. Clearing of grasses.
c. Provision of sanitizers, soap, buckets, and thermometers for each school to be placed at strategic places within the Schools for Students and Staff.
d. Provision of sickbay in every school where students with high temperature would be kept under the supervision of health personnel is mandatory
e. Students with underlying medical conditions should report with a medical report.
f. Observe bed spacing of 2metres.
g. Suspension of school bus services for now and where parents insist, the school must ensure adequate social distancing in the bus.
The Honourable Minister of State Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu and the Permanent Secretary of the FCTA, Mr. Olusade Adesola flagged off the fumigation exercise of the schools at the Government Secondary School Garki and the Government Secondary School Jabi respectively. Present at the media briefing was the Hon. Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, the Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade Adesola, Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Malam Bashir Mai-Bornu, the Acting Secretary of the Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr Mohammed Kawu and other senior officials of the FCTA.