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Ebola: Confusion over schools’ resumption

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By Our Reporters
LAGOS—As both primary and secondary schools nationwide are expected to resume today in compliance with the directive by the Federal Government, parents and teachers have, however, been thrown into confusion following counter-directives by some state governments which have fixed different dates for schools to resume.

The Nigeria Union of Teachers, on its part had earlier directed its members to ignore the directive of the government until they have been sufficiently trained and their schools provided with the necessary preventive and protective equipment against the Ebola Virus Disease, EVD.pupils-in-Lagos-schools-11

States where schools are scheduled to resume today include, Abia, Kano, Bayelsa, Imo, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue and Kaduna.

However, states that have directed their schools to resume on various dates in October include Lagos, Osun, Ogun, and Niger.

The Abia State Government, while directing all schools to re-open said it has made necessary arrangements for the safety of returning pupils and teachers.

The state commissioner of Education, Mrs. Monica Philips said the teachers have been given enough training to handle and prevent Ebola outbreak, assuring that infra-red thermometers and sanitizers would be provided to the public schools.

Lagos schools now resume Oct 8

In Lagos State, however, Governor Babatunde Fashola directed that all learning and teaching activities for the next academic session in Lagos schools be suspended until Wednesday, October 8, rather than today, September 22.

Speaking at an interactive session with principals, vice-principals, head-teachers and assistant head-teachers of public primary and secondary schools in the state, Governor Fashola said the additional two weeks would allow for more time to further put in place all necessary precautionary measures against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Lagos State schools.

The latest directive from Governor Fashola is a dramatic U-turn from his earlier stance in a state-wide broadcast.

The postponement is already causing confusion among private boarding schools whose pupils have already reported back to their respective institutions for resumption of fresh academic session.

Parents and guardians at the weekend had made frantic efforts to return their children and wards to schools before the state’s government shift in date was announced.

Among the schools which have started receiving pupils include: Agbowa Baptist Grammar School, Light House School, Ikorodu; Caleb International School, among others.

At press time, parents and guardians were confused on whether to withdraw their children/wards from school.

In Niger state, schools have been directed to resume on Monday October 13 for the new session while those in the Boarding schools are expected to resume on Friday, October 10.

Governor Babangida Aliyu, who disclosed this when a delegation of Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, those of the West African Examinations Council, WAEC and National Examination Council, NECO paid him a courtesy visit said it was an agreement reached between him, the state Commissioner of Basic Education, Alhaji Danladi Abdulhamid and other stakeholders last week to shift the resumption date till middle of October to allow students enjoy the Eid-el Kabir which is fixed for early next month.

All Federal Government Colleges in Imo State, as well as schools owned by missionaries and individuals will, in full compliance with the directives of the Federal Government, re-open today.

On the contrary, all schools run by Imo State Government will open their doors to pupils on September 29, 2014.

A school principal, who spoke on grounds of anonymity, explained that state schools were not scheduled to re-open today.

“We ended the last academic year a bit late. Mission and private schools closed for the long vacation earlier than public schools. The originally scheduled date for our resumption is September 29”, the school principal said.

At the time of this interview, school principals have not been invited for any meeting by either the Secondary Education Management Board or the Ministry of Education.

According to her, “if and when government invites us for the meeting, we may be told what to do, especially with the advent of Ebola Virus Disease”.

Anambra ready

Anambra State government on its part said it has put in place measures to ensure that pupils and their teachers do not have health issues to contend with when they resume today

Commissioner for Education, Professor Kate Omenugha said all schools have been provided with test kits and sanitizers, while those who would handle them in schools have been trained.

She explained that schools that have no regular water supply have been provided with water in readiness for resumption.

In Bauchi State however, NUT said teachers will not resume classes without Ebola prevention materials and kits in schools.

Chairman of the union, Danjuma Sale in an interview with Vanguard said that teachers in the state will comply with the Federal Government’s directive to resume classes on Sept. 22 (today) but will not teach until the right facilities are put in place in schools.

He said the state government had promised that two teachers from each school in the state would be trained on the prevention of the disease, but has not commenced yet.

Ogun announces October 8

The Ogun State Government on its part announced Wednesday,  October 8, as the new resumption date for both public and private primary and secondary schools in the state.

Secretary to the State Government,  Taiwo Adeoluwa said the new date was arrived at after series of evaluation meetings with stakeholders on measures put in place to prevent outbreak of EVD when the pupils resume.

He said: “Since the Ebola scourge broke out in Lagos, the Ogun State government has put a lot of preventive measures in place.

“So, we have agreed that the new date for resumption be shifted to Wednesday October 8.”

In Benue state, Governor Gabriel Suswam urged schools and parents to abide by the directive of the Federal Government that schools resume today.

The Governor, who spoke, weekend, at the flag off of the Suswam Free Medical Services Initiative, in Vandeikya Local Government Area of the state assured that adequate measures had been put in place to check any outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in the state.

According to him: “At the moment, the government has also started training teachers on how to tackle the disease if any outbreak is recorded in any school in any part of the state.

“We have also taken measures to ensure that medical personnel and facilities are on 24 hours standby to adequately respond to any outbreak in any part of the state. We, therefore, have no reasons not to resume classes on the specified date.

Public and private schools in Adamawa State are divided over today’s resumption date as directed by the Federal Government.

While private schools have concluded arrangements to resume, public schools are not showing any sign that they will resume. A visit by Vanguard to some private schools in the capital clearly indicated that all is set for resumption.

All the schools visited have their sign boards within the gates of their schools directing parents and guardians to send their children and wards to schools unfailingly.

However, public schools have remained adamant over the resumption date as the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT has vowed not to return to classes until adequate measures against the Ebola disease are put in place.

Osun opts for Oct 6

The Osun State Government has also deferred the resumption date of primary and secondary school students in the state till Monday, October 6 to allow principals and teachers receive adequate training and government put in place all necessary measures to prevent Ebola virus in the state.

A statement by the State Deputy Governor and Commissioner for Education, Princess Titilayo Laoye-Tomori said that the state government arrived at the new resumption date after a careful consideration of views from the stakeholders.

Kaduna resumes today

Both private and public primary and secondary Schools in Kaduna State are to resume today, according Vanguard investigation.

Deputy Governor and Chairman Kaduna State  Ebola Monitoring and Preventive Committee, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, said that the state has put in place every preventive measure in all schools.

Bajoga said: “As you are aware, we have trained all primary and secondary teachers in Kaduna state on measures to take to ensure they contain any outbreak. We are also procuring thermometers and other testing kits for them as the state governor has already approved N170 million for that.

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