*Public, private schools captured in the scheme
By Ralph Christopher
The Enugu State Government, jas flagged off a comprehensive decontamination and fumigation of secondary schools in the state, ahead of resumption of academic activities.
The exercise is being carried out by the State Fire Service, led by its Chief Fire Officer, Engr. Okwudiri Ohaa.
It would be recalled that Enugu State Government, on March 24, 2020, closed all educational institutions in the state, as part of proactive measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
The state government directed all public officers/civil servants to work from home till further notice, except those on essential services, and has been paying them salaries, including the teachers, as and when due, since then.
But, the state government has instructed all caderbof civil servants to resume fully as from Monday, while markets, moto parks and worship centers had since reopened but adhering to covid-19 protocols spelt out by the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
Briefing newsmen shortly after the decontamination flag off, which took place at Queen’s College, Enugu, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Uche Eze, who monitored the exercise alongside the Chairman of Post-Primary Schools Management Board (PPSMB), Barr. Nestor Ezeme, said that it was Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s directives that “all our schools, classrooms, dormitories and school premises should be decontaminated and fumigated in preparation for resumption”.
Prof. Eze disclosed that “this is to ensure that when the students and teachers are back to schools, they will be safe to learn in conducive environment”.
The commissioner added that the exercise will take place in all the schools and will be completed on or before the evening of Monday, August 3, 2020.
He pointed out that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration has utilized the four months of break in academic activities “in renovation and expansion of our school facilities to ensure that we have enough space for our children to maintain social distancing when they return to schools.
“In fact, a few days ago, His Excellency himself moved round schools to inspect our state of readiness and this decontamination and fumigation exercise, which is very important, is going to be the last stage of our preparation,” he said.
Also speaking, the PPSMB Chairman, Barr. Ezeme, said that “our education friendly Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi during the four months of lockdown had paid our teachers, totaling 11,000 in number their salaries, from the 22nd to the 23rd of every month”.
He added that the teachers would be returning to the classrooms ready and much energized, expressing optimism that their output will be maximized.
In his speech, the State Chief Fire Officer, Engr. Ohaa, stated that the decontamination and fumigation exercise will be carried out simultaneously in about 297 secondary schools.
According to him: “We are sure that on or before evening of Monday, we will complete it”.
Engr. Ohaa revealed that the state fire service offices at different local government areas have been mobilized to carry out the exercise, reassuring that the schools will be ready “for students and their teachers to be safe when they return”.
He maintained that the Enugu State government has been consistent with the decontamination of its public places since the outbreak of COVID-19, stressing that “there is no other state that is as consistent as Enugu State”.
Appreciating Gov. Ugwuanyi’s efforts towards enhancing the standard of education in the state as well as the welfare and safety of the students and their teachers, the Principal of Queen’s School Enugu, Mrs. Ada Nweke, said that the teachers will ever remain grateful to the governor for his commitment and good works in the education sector and beyond.