As both private schools and public schools in the country prepare for resumption on January 18 following the government’s approval, the Federal Government has rolled out some COVID-19 protocols to be strictly observed to keep children safe from the second wave of the pandemic.
A statement was issued on Thursday, January 14, by the ministry’s director of press and public relations, Ben Bem Goong, titled, ‘School resumption date of January 18, 2021 stands – Minister.’
The statement noted that the decision to re-open schools and review the COVID-19 protocols was a follow up on a comprehensive appraisal of the situation.
Here are the updated guidelines schools are to observe as they resume on Monday, January 18:
1. Parents and respective institutions must ensure full compliance with COVID-19 protocols including – the compulsory wearing of facemasks by all students, teachers, and workers in all schools.
2. There must be temperature checks and handwashing facilities at strategic locations in all schools.
3. They should ensure a constant supply of water and sanitizers.
4. There should be enforcement of maintenance of social distancing and suspension of large gatherings such as assembly and visiting days.
5. Avoiding overcrowding, including limitations in class sizes and hostel occupancy.
6. Availability of functional health clinics with facilities for isolation and transportation of suspected cases to medical facilities.
7. Adherence to all other non-pharmaceutical protocols, restrictions and containment measures as may be prescribed/approved by the PTF from time to time.
8. The measures which are to ensure the safe reopening of schools for academic activities will be subject to constant review
9. Teachers, school administrators, and other stakeholders should ensure strict compliance to COVID-19 protocols
10. Schools and educational bodies that plan to reopen must have detailed communication protocols that include parents, school health teams, school authorities and local (and) state officials.
11. They must also have a system for providing regular updates for parents, staff and relevant authorities as well as communicate changes to procedures effectively and clearly as well as taking effective measures to understand how COVID-19 can spread and how to mitigate the spread in line with official guidelines.
12. Specifically, school authorities have the responsibility to ensure that everyone gaining access to their schools is screened properly, is wearing a mask and sanitizing their hands.
13. Boarding schools must have identified areas for screening and putting positive students aside.
14. There must be access to running water and handwashing facilities.
15. The health staff, particularly in boarding schools, must be trained and provided with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
16. There must be appropriate waste management systems.
17. Health facilities that are within the schools that serve the schools should have the ability to cater for an outbreak and a response protocol must be in place for these schools for students who test positive. In this regard, it is important to involve their parents and make sure that parents have signed consent forms in advance.
18. Schools should also work in synergy with the local government rapid response teams and collaborate with the state ministries of health on planning, implementation and reopening of schools.
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