COVID-19: FG releases guidelines for schools’ resumption

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The Federal Government has released guidelines ahead of the planned resumption of schools at every level in the country but failed to disclose the dates .

The guidelines outlined actions , measures and requirements needed for the safe reopening of schools after the COVID – 19 pandemic .
According to the guidelines released by the Federal Ministry of Education in Abuja on Monday , the safe distancing measures in the new guidelines required that in schools and other learning facilities , learners should be supported to stay two meters apart.
The guidelines which was signed by the Minister of Education , Mallam Adamu Adamu and Minister of State ( Education ) , Hon . Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba was developed in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Health and health safety experts in the country .

The document reads , “ However, there are exceptions where the two -meter rule cannot be reasonably applied and other risk mitigation strategies may be adopted . Examples include early years , younger primary school children , and those with additional needs .

“ In these circumstances , risk assessments must be undertaken with the best interests of the learners , teachers , and other education personnel in mind . The scenarios require organizing learners and children into small groups with consistent membership and compliance with the risk mitigation strategies . The membership of these groups should not change unless the NCDC public health guideline suggests otherwise. ”
With the release of the document, the government would conduct a rapid assessment and determine funding requirement for upgrading infrastructure and facilities ( such as classrooms , furniture , Water , Sanitation and Hygiene -WASH and ICT facilities ) to meet and sustain prescribed safe school reopening requirements .
The government said it was time for it to plan and address the eventual safe reopening of schools and learning facilities .
THE PUNCH reported that schools and all learning facilities were closed due to Coronavirus pandemic in order to safeguard the health and general wellbeing of children , youths, teachers and educational personnel .
The guidelines included a review of existing policies , practices , and risk mitigation strategies in the use of schools for other purposes , such as distance learn-ing centres , temporary shelters, isolation, quarantine and treatment centres , markets , voting centres , among others .

“ COVID – 19 pandemic poses an enormous risk to the health and safety of learners , teachers , parents, school administrators, education practitioners , and the wider community …More than 1 . 5 billion children and young people globally have been affected by school and university closures .
“ As a responsible government , it is also our duty to provide comprehensive guidelines for a safe and hitch -free reopening of schools and learning facilities . We do so knowing that the health, safety, and security of learners , teachers , education personnel , and families are priorities ” , it stressed .

The guidelines dealt extensively on equitable plans for school reopening and operations, focusing on attendance, social distancing , hygiene, cleaning , and non -pharmaceutical interventions for safe and healthy school activities and programmes .

Adamu explained that the need to develop the guidelines became imperative, “ given that COVID – 19 may be with us for a while. ”

He said the guidelines also highlight the urgent need to maintain and improve upon distance – learning programs .

The Minister said , “ Our aim is to identify and strengthen programmes that will guarantee the recovery of learning gaps resulting from the pandemic.

“ The guidelines were drafted in close coordination with health , environmental , education , and school safety experts who were tasked with the responsibility of charting a pathway for safely reopening our schools and learning facilities for quality teaching and learning .”

The approach, according to him , ensured that stakeholders provided regular feedback throughout the process.

Adamu expressed gratitude to the Presidential Taskforce on COVID – 19 , FMoH , Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Education in Emergencies Working Group in Nigeria for their support and contribution in the development of the guidelines .

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