From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
Rivers State government has declared its commitment to the fight against Coronavirus as schools in the state reopens today, October 5.
Addressing Principals during the distribution of non-pharmaceutical and safety materials about 500 public secondary schools in the state at the weekend, Commissioner for Education, Prof Kaniye Ebeku, said the State government is concerned about the safety of students as schools reopen.
He said distribution of the materials ahead of schools reopening was part of government’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
Ebeku urged the principals to ensure proper use of the items distributed, warning that schools that contravene the COVID-19 guidelines will be sanctioned.
He said, “the Distribution of COVID-19 non-pharmaceutical and sanitary materials demonstrates the commitment of His Excellency to the fight against COVID-19.
“We are looking forward eagerly for Students to return to schools on Monday and my candid advice to all of them is to ensure full compliance with COVID-19 protocols.”
“If any head of school do not enforce Covid-19 protocols as enacted and as explained to them, the consequences will be disastrous for such a person because the person seeks to compromise the health of the society and to flout the directives of the state and that cannot be condoned.”
Also speaking, Chairman of the 7-Man Exco Taskforce for the Enforcement of COVID-19 Protocols in schools, Amb. Desmond Akawor, advised the Principals to enforce compliance of all directives in their various schools.
He said, “We have all agreed the schools will be reopened. Some of us that will be going to your school is just to confirm whether certain things that will come from government is in place.
“Please whatever that is made available, use them and go back to tour schools and ensure that the students comply with all the protocols.
“Let us ensure that continuously this crusade is carried out so that our people will know. Once you are protected and your brother is protected, it cannot spread.”
On his part, the State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, sensitized the principals on the dangers of the contact and spread of the virus.
Prof Chike admonished the principals not to live in denial of the existence of the Virus, explaining that response to the COVID-19 guidelines impedes the spread.
He said, “Whatever you believe, for the sake of the students, teachers and those under you, do not say, COVID-19 does not exist.
“Covid is an assault on mankind. We are all at risk and that risk is that your age is there and it is not a good sign. The effects of this virus may not fully be seen today. What we see around the world is a tip of the iceberg.
“Tell the Children that the virus has no friend, do not respect age, height or religion. The pandemic is all over the world and we are praying that another wave does not come around.
“If we come to any school and your people are not wearing masks. I will take your picture and I will send it to the Governor and they will send you out because you are a problem for every other person.”
Speaking on behalf of Principals of Public schools, President, Rivers State Chapter of All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools, Mr. Austin Iroegbu thanked the state government for the gesture.
Mr. Austin said, “We want to sincerely thank the Governor for providing these materials we are seeing today.
“This is not the first time the government is providing materials like this. When we were about starting the WAEC, materials for COVID-19 were provided for senior secondary schools and now we want to reopen, more materials are now being brought for senior and junior Secondary schools.
“There are only very few states who have done what our government is doing today. We want to say thank you very much and God bless everyone that has made this possible”, he said.