NUT, Parents React Over Lagos Govt Decision To Reopen Schools

Tentatively, the Lagos State government has fixed September 21 for the reopening of secondary and primary schools in the state, while tertiary schools owned by the state are likely to reopen a week earlier.

To this end, stakeholders in the education sector have started expressing their mixed feelings on the development.

Though a majority of those who spoke to newsmen on Sunday said they received the news as a welcome development as they are fully prepared for resumption, a few, especially parents of students in public schools still seeing those schools as not totally safe at this time since COVID-19 is still raging.

The state recorded the first index case of the virus six months ago, after which it shut down not only schools but all activities in the state to curtail the spread of the disease.

Speaking separately in an exclusive interview with our correspondent, the chairman of Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Lagos State chapter, Mr Adedoyin Adesina; President of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Lagos State, Mr Olawale Mohammed, and his counterpart in charge of League of Muslim School Proprietors (LEAMSP), Mr Fatai Raheem, as well as President of Association of Formidable Educational Development (AFED), Mr Orji Kanu have all expressed their full preparation towards reopening.

Similarly, the Head of Press and information department of Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, Mr Ademola Adekoya, also told our correspondent that the university had been waiting all along for the announcement as it has fully prepared.

They said they were not afraid as there is nothing to worry about than for each of them as stakeholders and government to live up to their respective roles in making sure that all given safety guidelines and protocols against the spread of COVID-19 are adhered to by all concerned statewide.

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They said it was a good news that the state had not recorded any case among students sitting for the ongoing West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) since the commencement.

They said it was not only that the state government has carried them along on the decision making as regards general reopening of schools, but also that the positive outcome received from the SS3 students who are writing exam also informed the development.

The NUT boss explained that even though the September 21 reopening date is still uncertain for primary and secondary schools, the reopening would be in phases, beginning with JSS3 and Primary six pupils and then others.

But some parents spoke to newsmen said the government would need to do more on its schools as many of them are overcrowded and their facilities would likely be overstretched when all students are back in schools.

They said they were doubtful if the principle of social/physical distancing would be possible in most of the classrooms with more than 80 students.

One of them, Deacon Olusoji Adams, a former southwest coordinator of National Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria, said the government would need to supply schools more chairs and tables, and also to embark on aggressive sensitisation to educate the students how to play safe both in and out of schools.

They said though children would not continue to stay at home for life more so that government almost reopened economic generally, their safety is sacrosanct.

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