The Federal Government, yesterday, postponed the resumption of all primary and secondary schools till October 13, to curtail the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country.
The schools were originally scheduled to re-open in the second week of September.
Announcing the shift in resumption date in Abuja, Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau said the decision became necessary in view of the risk posed by the Ebola virus which could easily spread through schools.
“All primary and secondary schools, both public and private are to remain closed until Monday October 13, 2014 which is the new school resumption date for all schools throughout the Federation”.
Shekarau, who briefed the press at the end of a meeting with state commissioners of education, added that all on-going summer schools were also affected with immediate effect.
The former governor also said the change in the resumption date was also to enable the Federal and state governments, as well as school authorities put in place adequate preventive measures before the pupils returned to school.
“All state Ministries of Education are to immediately organise and ensure that at least two (2) staff in each school, both public and private, are trained by appropriate health workers on how to handle any suspected case of Ebola and also embark on immediate sensitization of all teaching and non-teaching staff in all schools on preventive measures. This training of staff must be concluded not later than September 15, 2014.”
He further directed states Ministries of Education to establish Working and Monitoring Teams for effective supervision of school activities before and after opening of schools.
“Each state Ministry of Education should appoint a designated Desk Officer not later than September 1, 2014, who should also receive appropriate training and who must report on daily basis to the Honourable Commissioner on situation in the schools. The names of such Desk Officers, their phone numbers and e-mail addresses should be communicated to the Headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Education not later than September 1, 2014.
“All primary and secondary schools, both public and private should be provided with a minimum of two (2) Blood Pressure Measuring Equipment by the State Ministries of Education. The State Ministries should determine the number of such equipment required and forward same to the Federal Ministry of Education not later than September 1, 2014. Ministry of Education will liaise with the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure that appropriate equipment are procured,” he added.
“All summer classes currently being conducted by some private schools should be suspended with immediate effect until October 13, 2014.
“All private primary and secondary schools must comply with the directives given under these preventive measures. State governments are called upon to support their Ministries of Education with all necessary funds to ensure effective implementation of these preventive measures”, Shekarau said.
He warned that any private or public school that failed to comply with the directives would be sanctioned.
“Our concern is for the children and we would go to any length to ensure both private and public schools comply. You can imagine if a child is infected in a boarding school of say about 600 children, it would be very dangerous. We are not saying there is Ebola in all states of the Federation but we are putting some preventive measures in place.”
Shekarau also advised all tertiary institutions to suspend exchange of staff and students programmes, visits and major international seminars and workshops until further notice.
“They are also to monitor the movement of foreign students in their campuses. They are to liaise with appropriate government health institutions to organize and ensure effective sensitization programme for all their teaching and non-teaching staff.”