The resumption of both primary and secondary schools in Lagos State second term in the midst of the raging second wave of COVID-19 is generating anxiety among some stakeholders including parents, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and health workers, among others.
The Federal Government had on Thursday after wide consultation gave a nod to the earlier proposed January 18 resumption date for schools but cautioned that reopening must be done with compliance with COVID-19 protocols, particularly, strict adherence to non-pharmaceutical procedures.
Also, private schools owners under the aegis of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) stressed the need for the government to keep schools open, so as to prevent the total collapse of the private education sub-sector.
The President of NAPPS, Chief Yomi Otubela, last week stated that the association has put in place its internal monitoring committee to ensure private schools in the country continue to adhere to the recommended COVID-19 safety protocols .
The Lagos State Government similarly had on Friday affirmed its earlier pronouncement that all public and private schools in the state below tertiary level should resume on January 18, 2021 for the second term 2020/2021 academic session.
The Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, who disclosed the resumption date advised all schools to ensure strict compliance with subsisting COVID-19 requirements for school resumption.
However, some parents and guardians have expressed worry over the decision of the government to reopen schools in spite of the rising cases of COVID-19, particularly in Lagos state, which has remained the epicentre of the virus.
A parent, Mrs. Vivian Aba, who has two children in a private secondary school and one in a primary school expressed disappointment at the government for ‘succumbing’ to pressure over schools reopening.
She said, “As a parent, I am releasing my children to resume their various schools because I have no choice.
“It is so sad that the government cannot stamp its feet down to do the needful, going by the fast rate at which the second wave of Coronavirus is spreading.
“It is obvious that private school owners won’t want the schools to remain shut because of the huge profits they make; hence the pressure to open the schools.
“Well, I pray, we don’t regret this action.”
Another parent, Mr. Ibrahim Ayodeji, said he will not allow his children to resume school until the coast gets clearer.
“I am looking for money to eat and not money to treat COVID-19,” he said.
A youth group under the aegis of the Youth Rights Campaign noted that the consequence of reopening schools without adequate provision for safety measures could be a spike in the COVID-19 infection and thus endangering the lives of both staff and students.
“As an organization, the ERC is sympathetic to the pains and desire of students for schools, especially universities, to reopen having lost about a year to the pandemic alongside many other innumerable losses.
“However, this cannot be at the cost of the health and lives of students and staff.
“Unfortunately, the approach of the Federal Government particularly the Ministry of Education towards the question of how schools can be made safe for resumption of academic activities is far from reassuring,” the Deputy National Coordinator of the Group, Ogunjimi Isaac, said.
In a bid to monitor schools resumption and compliance to the COVID-19 protocols, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Adefisayo, will be visiting schools across the state.