The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 said it is working closely with the federal ministry of education for the development of guidelines and protocols for safe reopening of schools.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha disclosed this on Monday in Abuja at the 38th joint national briefing of the task force.
He maintained that schools would remain closed for now
Mustapha also announced the reopening of mosques and churches two months after they were shut down in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus in the country.
He said the PTF had taken into consideration the advisory of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the need to take some action as planning to ease a lockdown concerning balanced lives and livelihoods; follow a slow and phased approach that is data driven; apply public health measures in every community and at every phase of the response (i.e. surveillance, case finding, testing, isolation, tracing and quarantining contacts.); and evaluating the economic and social aspects of the society, which will play a role in progressing or hindering any efforts for the response.
Mustapha said that while Nigeria’s confirmed cases have increased in the period under review, there are some factors that should inspire confidence in the response.
He said: “Majority of the confirmed cases are in a handful of local governments in the country; 20 out of the 774 LGAs nationwide account for 60 per cent of the cases; there is an opportunity to concentrate efforts in these high-burden areas; federal agencies and state governments are working together on the promotion and utilisation of guidelines on case management (homecare for relatively well patients).
Reacting to the closure of schools until further evaluation as announced by the task force, the President of National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Chief Yomi Otubela, expressed disappointment.
He said the federal government should have at least come up with recommended safety measures for schools so that proprietors and teachers would begin work on the measures ahead of recalling students and pupils who have been at home for long.
According to him, the recommended safety measures will help schools begin to prepare ahead of the inspection exercise by relevant agencies to monitor level of preparedness before proper re-opening.
A parent, Mr. Mohammed Abdullahi, commended the action of government, saying it was good that government was thinking of putting on ground precautionary measures.
“It is a welcome development as life gradually returns to normal.
“In my opinion, based on global trends, coronavirus might become another general disease like malaria, HIV and others that the world is learning to live with even with their medications and vaccines around.
“So, the onus is on Nigerians and indeed global citizens to take responsibility and act appropriately to curtail the spread of the virus,” he said.
Professor Sebastian Uremadu of the Department of Banking and Finance, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, said the decision of the presidential tasks force on schools resumption, including universities, in his own opinion, was taken in good faith because those involved are children.
“If we allow the universities to reopen in a confused manner without these guidelines put in place, the situation will not be good.
“The federal government should study other countries,” he said.