By Joseph Erunke
STUDENTS and teachers in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, have greeted the resumption of schools with mixed feelings, despite measures being put in place to ensure safety in schools.
A tour undertaken by Vanguard round some schools in the FCT showed that while some safety measures had been put in place in some schools as students resume academic activities, some schools were not prepared to that effect.
While handwashing facilities, hand, sanitisers, temperature scanners, disposable and reusable facemasks had already been deployed to some schools in the nation’s capital city just as classes were seen rearranged to accommodate only 20 students, some schools were seen without protective measures in place given teachers and some non-teaching staff to some concerns.
Vanguard gathered that even as students resumed academic activities, the schools were yet to be fumigated.
The principal, Model Secondary School, MSS, Maitama, Blessing Ezendu, who was seen distributing the Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to students, teachers and non-teaching staff, noted that they were received from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Secondary Education Board.
With 320 students registered to sit for the WASSCE, It was observed that each student of MSS was given two disposable and one reusable face mask, a handwashing facility was mounted in each block, while each class got one hand sanitiser in the custodian of the class prefect.
At the Junior Secondary School Model, a teacher, Ifeduba Victor, said although the excitement of resuming after a long time cannot be downplayed, there was still the fear of being exposed to contracting the virus.
Although the school was yet to be fumigated or received any PPE, Victor noted that they had enough classes to ensure social distancing amongst the JSS3 students who have resumed for classes ahead of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BESC).
“It’s a mixed feeling; We are happy to come and meet our students and impact knowledge and they are very happy to resume and see other students after a long while but it is also risky without adequate preparation.
“COVID-19 is not concluded, it is still on. We are praying that God will protect us.”
Two young students who were disappointed that their school didn’t resume to hold preparatory classes for the National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE), appealed to the FCT administration to urge schools to resume so they could write their examinations and face the next stage of their academics.
Both students of Model Primary School, Hauwa Adamu and Praise Jasper lamented they were tired of reading for an examination that was taking forever to be written.
According to Hauwa: “We were directed to be in school today 4th of August but the gateman asked us to go back home school was yet to resume. We were just two in the school
On her part, Praise noted that “I am really excited for the exams that are coming because I have read so many times that is why I really wanted to go back to school. But they said we have resumed, I feel like I came for nothing. I am planning to call my teacher to know when exactly we are going to resume.”
Meanwhile, as schools resume to enable exiting classes sit for examinations, no fewer than 25,000 students are expected to sit for this year’s West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, WASSCE.
Schools have been shut down over the past five months in order to contain further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed 896 lives from a total number of 44,129 infections, from which 20,663 persons have fully recovered.
During an inspection tour to ascertain the level of preparedness in schools, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Acting Education Secretary, Umar Umarafa, expressed satisfaction with the compliance to the guidelines on the safe resumption of schools by schools, parents and students.
Speaking to newsmen at Government Science Secondary School, Pyakasa, on Tuesday in Abuja, Umarafa who noted that the students were not required to make any payment, added that there were frantic moves to ensure school clinics were not only functional but equipped to attend to emergencies.
“We want to go round to check how good or reasonable the responses to resume and put some certain measures on the place are.
“The students have responded and a lot of progress has been made. Those in day secondary schools are in the class and those in boarding are just resuming and are being registered and allocated their space in the dormitories. The students are not paying anything at all,” he said.
On whether the students would have to run COVID-19 tests before admission into classes, he said: “COVID-19 tests may be considered later but for now, we have advised them on what to do in line with the NCDC’s guidelines.
We are putting the clinics in order and everything will be done to make it equipped.
“In all, there are about 25, 000 students expected to sit for WAEC.”