Some experts on Wednesday warned the Oyo State Government, Mr Seyi Makinde to tread with caution on the reopening of schools for academic activities.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the state government had outlined plans for reopening of schools from June 29 in spite of rising cases of COVID-19.
But Prof. Clement Kolawole of the Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan, said there was a need for caution in the face of the concerns over rising COVID-19 cases.
Kolawole, also the Chairman of the School Governing Board of Estate High School, Bashorun, Ibadan, said government with the information available to it might review its decision before the due date for reopening.
“The governor has some information that we don’t have and so decisions are made based on these.
“And because the governor is directly involved in the management of COVID-19, so if he says in two weeks time, maybe he has been briefed that things will be better.
“So going by the information that is available to him we cannot hold sway for him. But going by what we also see every day we are also worried,” he said.
He, however, added that inspite of the concerns over rising COVID-19 cases, schools could not be shut indefinitely.
” We must do something that will help us see to it that schools are not shut indefinitely.
“I will say that let’s wait and see what happens. Just like Lagos State did now and reversed its decision to open churches and mosques slated initially for Friday, but now with the available information to the government, it has been shelved.
“So maybe if things did not change before the 29th and there is the need for a reversal of that decision, the government will do so,” he said.
Prof. Adams Onuka, another educationist at the Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan, called for the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for teachers among other facilities.
He noted that reopening schools should imply that the necessary precautions had been taken.
“These precautions include that decontamination of schools had been done, PPE are provided for teachers while provision for social and physical distancing is assured
“Other necessary measures to ensure that spread is curtailed such as sanitisers and wash hand basins and soap are in place.
“If these measures have not been taken, then it is premature to re-open schools in view of the fact that the spread curve has not been flattened,” he said.
Onuka further said that those states that want to open schools could go ahead provided they had put all necessary measures in place.
“Otherwise, it is ill-advised. I think they should seek medical evaluation of the situation and act according to the medical evaluation outcome,” he said
Dr Idowu Olanipekun, a development practitioner at the Centre for Development and Protection (CEDEP) Ibadan, on his part, also called for caution.
According to him, there must be a reasonable consideration for pupils in pre-primary and primary schools as they cannot take care of themselves.
Olanipekun said the arms of schools which would be the first to resume before others also needed to be adequately protected.
“In the case of the secondary and post-secondary students, they might be put under check although observing physical and social distancing might be a source of concern.
“Finally, the economic problem and timing will pose a problem to both private school owners and the government schools in providing safety kits and other facilities.
“Will the school buses be fumigated? And even teachers, how do they protect themselves and also prevent the spread of COVID-19 with safety protocols facilities?
“There may be more spread of the virus after resumption if care is not taken,” he said.