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COVID-19: FG releases guidelines for schools’ resumption

The Federal Government has released guidelines ahead of the planned resumption of schools at every level in the country but failed to disclose the dates .
The guidelines outlined actions , measures and requirements needed for the safe reopening of schools after the COVID -19 pandemic .
According to the guidelines released by the Federal Ministry of Education in Abuja on Monday , the safe distancing measures in the new guidelines required that in schools and other learning facilities , learners should be supported to stay two meters apart .
The guidelines which was signed by the Minister of Education , Mallam Adamu Adamu and Minister of State ( Education ) , Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba was developed in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment , Federal Ministry of Health and health safety experts in the country .
The document reads, “However , there are exceptions where the two -meter rule cannot be reasonably applied and other risk mitigation strategies may be adopted . Examples include early years , younger primary school children, and those with additional needs .
“In these circumstances, risk assessments must be undertaken with the best interests of the learners, teachers , and other education personnel in mind . The scenarios require organizing learners and children into small groups with consistent membership and compliance with the risk mitigation strategies . The membership of these groups should not change unless the NCDC public health guideline suggests otherwise .”
With the release of the document , the government would conduct a rapid assessment and determine funding requirement for upgrading infrastructure and facilities ( such as classrooms , furniture, Water , Sanitation and Hygiene – WASH and ICT facilities ) to meet and sustain prescribed safe school reopening requirements .
The government said it was time for it to plan and address the eventual safe reopening of schools and learning facilities .
THE PUNCH reported that schools and all learning facilities were closed due to Coronavirus pandemic in order to safeguard the health and general wellbeing of children, youths , teachers and educational personnel .
The guidelines included a review of existing policies , practices , and risk mitigation strategies in the use of schools for other purposes , such as distance learn -ing centres , temporary shelters, isolation , quarantine and treatment centres , markets , voting centres , among others .
“COVID – 19 pandemic poses an enormous risk to the health and safety of learners, teachers , parents , school administrators , education practitioners , and the wider community … More than 1.5 billion children and young people globally have been affected by school and university closures .
“As a responsible government , it is also our duty to provide comprehensive guidelines for a safe and hitch -free reopening of schools and learning facilities . We do so knowing that the health , safety , and security of learners, teachers , education personnel , and families are priorities ”, it stressed .
The guidelines dealt extensively on equitable plans for school reopening and operations , focusing on attendance, social distancing , hygiene, cleaning , and non -pharmaceutical interventions for safe and healthy school activities and programmes .
Adamu explained that the need to develop the guidelines became imperative , “given that COVID – 19 may be with us for a while .”
He said the guidelines also highlight the urgent need to maintain and improve upon distance – learning programs.
The Minister said , “Our aim is to identify and strengthen programmes that will guarantee the recovery of learning gaps resulting from the pandemic .
“The guidelines were drafted in close coordination with health , environmental , education, and school safety experts who were tasked with the responsibility of charting a pathway for safely reopening our schools and learning facilities for quality teaching and learning .”
The approach , according to him , ensured that stakeholders provided regular feedback throughout the process .
Adamu expressed gratitude to the Presidential Taskforce on COVID – 19 , FMoH , Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Education in Emergencies Working Group in Nigeria for their support and contribution in the development of the guidelines .

Source vanguardngr

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