The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has released fresh guidelines for the reopening of schools nationwide.
The earlier directive by the PTF that schools were free to reopen as of October 12.
Addressing journalists at Thursday’s briefing of the PTF in Abuja, the National Coordinator of the task force, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said the fresh guidelines which schools must strictly adhere to were developed by the PTF in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Education and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Aliyu added, “Schools and educational bodies that plan to reopen must have detailed communication protocols that include parents, school health teams, school authorities, and local state officials.
“They must also have a system for providing regular updates to 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 official guidelines.
“Specifically, school authorities have the responsibility to ensure that everyone gaining access to their schools is screened properly, is wearing a mask and sanitising their hands.
“Boarding schools must have identified areas for screening and putting positive students aside.
“There must be access to running water and handwashing 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 that serve the schools should have the ability to cater to 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 also work in synergy with the local government rapid response teams and collaborate with the state ministries of health on planning, implementation, and reopening of schools.
“We encourage schools to consider creative solutions to abide by these guidelines.”
The Coordinator also said that the Independent National Electoral Commission would enforce the no-face-mask-no-voting directive in the forthcoming governorship election holding on Saturday in Ondo State.
Aliyu said with 1.5 million eligible voters in 3,000 polling units across 18 Local Government Areas of the state, the election “is clearly a huge exercise” which would also come with its risk.
He also urged the “17 candidates in the election to live by example” by adhering strictly to the COVID-19 guidelines.