The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, on Monday, stepped down the mandatory COVID-19 test for the boarding students in the state’s secondary schools who are billed to resume on Tuesday.
Abiodun also declared that the test is now free for all students, thereby withdrawing the government’s position which earlier charged boarding students in private secondary schools N25,000 for the COVID-19 test.
The government had mandated each student to undergo a test as a precondition for resumption into the school.
Daily Trust reports that outrage had erupted on Sunday, when parents of students in private secondary schools took their children for the COVID-19 test at the MTR Specialist Hospital, Abeokuta, only to be told to pay N25,000 for each student’s test.
They protested against the charge, noting that the government conducted the test free for boarding students in public schools, while their counterparts in the private schools were asked to pay N25,000.
Following the backlash, Abiodun in a statement personally signed on Monday in Abeokuta, hinted that the test is now free for all the students.
He equally directed that all those who have paid for tests be refunded.
Abiodun apologised to parents and students affected, saying the development “is highly regrettable.”
The governor explained that the test was stepped down because the 500 daily testing capacity of the lab in the state would make it impossible to test and get results of all the students ready before the commencement of their examinations on August 17
He said a total of 5,340 students will be tested in private secondary schools, while 500 others are from the public schools.
“Consequently the State Government has, therefore, stepped down the COVID-19 test as a mandatory requirement for returning students in our exit classes.
“We, therefore, enjoin Private School owners to exercise their duty of care to their pupils.
“The admittance of students into boarding house in private secondary schools will be at the discretion of the management and the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of such private schools.
“Ogun State Government recommends that students who do not have to stay in the boarding house should attend school from home, especially those with underlying health conditions,” Abiodun said.
The governor added that he had directed the provision of face masks to all students in both private and public schools.
“The inconvenience and confusion experienced yesterday is highly regrettable and my sincere apologies to the parents and students so affected.
“The quality and standard of education and well being of our children are issues that are very dear to my heart,” he said.