Following the directives by the government that schools are free to open nationwide from Monday, the presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID 19 has released fresh guidelines, PTF national coordinator, DR SANI ALIYU, at a briefing in Abuja yesterday disclosed that the fresh guidelines which schools must strictly adhere to, was developed in conjunction with Federal Ministry of Education and the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
Aliyu said:”Schools and educational bodies that plan to reopen must have detailed communication protocols that include parents, school health teams, school authorities and local officials.
“They must have a system for providing regular updates for parents, staff and relevant authorities as well as communicate changes to procedures effectively and clearly as well as taking effective measures to understand how COVID 19 can spread and how to mitigate the spread in line with officials guidelines.
“Specifically, school authorities have the responsibilities to ensure that every one gaining access to their schools is screened properly, wearing a face mask and sanitizing their hands. “Boarding schools must have identified areas for screening and putting positive students aside.
There must be access to running water and hand washing facilities. “The health staff, particularly in boarding schools, must be trained and provided with PPE (personal protective equipment). “There must be appropriate waste management systems. “Health facilities that are within the schools should have ability to cater for an outbreak and a response protocol must be in place for these schools for students who test positive.
In this regard, it is important to involve their parents and make sure that parents have signed consent forms in advance. “Schools should have work in synergy with the local government rapid response teams and collaborate with the state ministeries of health on planning, implementation and reopening of schools.
Minister of health, DR OSAGIE EHANIRE, who raised concerns over reported increase in number of infections in several European countries and across the Atlantic, noted that the development in West African sub-region indicated that the pandemic was evolving along similar patterns of reduction in cases and fatalities. “While this provides some comfort that we are not out of place in our sub region, we still have no reason for complacency, “he warned.