…As Primary, Secondary students cry out
Honourable Commissioner for Education, Lagos State Mrs Folasade Adefisayo has just announced the plans for both Public and Private Schools resumption in the state after the lockdown of schools as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, however it is not yet jubilation hour as students and pupils in the state cry out. CYRIACUS NNAJI writes
After so much idleness, disappointments and expectations for the commencement of secondary and primary schools in Lagos State, resumption of schools was finally announced bringing with it joy to the hearts of the expectant students and pupils. However that jubilation was short lived as the state reeled out phased guidelines for the resumption of school.
According to the Hon. Commissioner for Education in the state, Folasade Adefisayo who congratulated the SS 3 students who have successfully completed their WASSCE exams and urged them to stay safe even as they await their results, said that the Ministry is adopting a phased approach to opening of public schools, “The Ministry is adopting a phased approach to opening public schools. This phased approach to opening will enable public schools meet COVID-19 social distance rules and safety protocols and will help us watch the behaviour of the pandemic as we gradually open up our schools.”
She disclosed that the present JS 3 and SS 2 students in public schools in the State are to resume classes from Monday, 21st of September, 2020.
“The resumption will permit the present JS 3 students who are already in an exit class to revise and get adequately prepared for their forthcoming Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) organized by the Lagos State Examination Board and scheduled between Tuesday, 6th and Monday, 12th of October, 2020. The resumption will also afford the present SS 2 students an opportunity to prepare effectively for their transition to SS 3. The scheduled dates and venues for Entrance Examination into Lagos State Model Colleges will soon be announced by the State Examination Board.
“We assure parents that announcements for opening the other classes will occur as soon as we are certain of their safety. In the meantime, the unopened classes in public schools will continue their lessons on our various distance learning platforms (Online platform, radio, television and WhatsApp) while the next phase for physical resumption will be announced in due course,” She said.
The Commissioner advised the private schools to reopen but with a caveat that they should follow the guidelines designed for public schools.
“Private Primary and Secondary Schools in the State are permitted to resume from Monday, 21st of September, 2020 and the State Government strongly recommends and encourages school owners to put safety first and open in phases similar to the plans for public schools.
“Phased opening also include strategies for staggered resumption in the mornings, classes on alternate days during the week and teaching through various distance learning methods. Schools must also comply with safety protocols and hygiene guidelines as instructed by the State Government through the Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA). The Office of Education Quality Assurance will continue to monitor and evaluate Schools’ preparedness.”
She also stressed that pre-primary classes and schools in both public and private schools will remain closed until further announcements are made.
The Commissioner also reminded schools in the state to be extra careful as the pandemic is still ravaging the world. “The pandemic is still with us and we must in all situations, make the safety of our children, teachers and parents and our community as a whole our first priority.”
Meanwhile an SS1 student of Imoye High School, Mile 2, in Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area of the state who mentioned her name simply as Muti disclosed that she is not happy that she will not be resuming on the said date, adding that she is tied of staying at home. “I am not happy, what is the difference in all the students starting the same time? No difference, although the government knows the best,but I am tied staying at home,” she said.
Another student from Hope Children College, a private Secondary School in Ifelodun Local Council Development Area (LCDA) stated that the plan to phase the resumption of schools in the state was taken in error. She maintained that with all the safety measures including face mask, washing of hand and physical distancing there was no need of further punishing the students with the lockdown. “We have tried, have we not? For six months we have been at home, and you still want to lock us down. The online lesson is not working, it is not. Where is the data, and android, tell me now,” she said.