Rivers Govt to sanction schools for violation of Covid-19 protocols

Heads of state-owned tertiary institutions during a meeting with Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Prof Kanye Ebeku on October 5, schools resumption in the state

From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt

Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Prof Kaniye Ebeku, has stated that any school in the state that fails to adhere to COVID-19 health protocols at resumption on October 5, 2020, will face risk of losing operational approval.

This as the Commissioner has listed guidelines and conditions for reopening of schools in the state.

Prof Ebeku, gave the guidelines on Monday in his office in Port Harcourt, during a separate meeting with Vice Chancellors of state-owned universities, Heads of polytechnics, colleges, Heads of Secondary Schools and vocational institutions.

Speaking, Ebeku said, “you know that schools are to reopen with effect from Monday the October 5. However, there are conditions you must comply with to ensure that not only that we have reopened, but that we can remain opened”.

He said all schools billed to reopen on October 5, must ensure the installation and availability of hand washing facilities around the campus and all persons entering the school environment must be subjected to temperature checks.

The education commissioner emphasized that schools must ensure that there is only one entry point into the campus and must also enforce and adhere to physical and social distancing.

He noted that schools must provide a temporary holding centre for people who show symptoms of COVID-19, directing that where practicable schools should adopt blended learning approach in instructing students.

Speaking further Prof. Ebeku advocated for thorough sensitization of students and tutors on the need to adhere to all COVID-19 protocols.

He said, ‘you need to consider holding classes in two or more sessions to reduce crowd. You need to ban social and sporting activities on campus. Overall, avoid crowding and overcrowding on the campus”.

He also charged the schools heads with the duty to ensure that there are no cases of spike or infection in their various institutions of learning, urging them to enact a rule to sanction any staff or student who violate the COVID-19 protocols.

On secondary schools resumption , the Rivers State Ministry of Education revealed that that private schools which violate the COVID-19 protocols may lose their approval.

Prof Ebeku disclosed the adoption of two sessions, morning and afternoon, as a veritable measure to avoid over-crowding in schools with large populations.

He clarified that schools will reopen on October 5, for third term 2019/2020 academic session and run for six weeks, for students in JSS1 – JSS2 and SS1 – SS2. while first term 2020/2021 session will commence on November 16, 2020.

The commissioner further said: “schools must consider allowing few students on campus at a time and all schools must ensure physical and social distancing at all times. Make-up classes can be scheduled on Saturday, although it is not compulsory”.

“If a school is capable, it should adopt blended learning approach. All staff and students must continually be educated on the need to comply with all COVID-19 protocols.

“All students must come to school wearing their facemasks or no entry. As part of measures to check over-crowding in schools, all schools should adopt two sessions, except where the population of the school is so small as to make possible for only morning session to hold”.

The tertiary institutions meeting was attended by Prof Nlerum Okogbulem, Vice Chancellor of Rivers State University, Prof O. M Ndimele, Vice Chancellor of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Dr Sam Kalagbor Peter, Rector of Captain Election Amado Polytechnic, Prof Franklin Meeting, Protest of Rivers State College of Health and Acting Rector of Ken Saro Wiwa Polytechnic.

Also attended for the secondary schools level, were members of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, NAPPS; All Confederation of Principals of Public Schools (ANCOPPS), State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Rivers State Senior Secondary Schools Board (RSSSB), Parents Teachers Association (PTA) and other critical stakeholders in the education sector.

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