Nigerian Government Approves Phased reopening of Schools

Obiajulu Joel Nwolu
  • Reviews curfew from 12am to 4am
  • Lifts ban on market, cinema and gym
  • Approves reopening of NYSC orientation camp


The Nigerian government has ratified the phased reopening of educational institutions across all states of the federation after schools were closed in March as a measure to control the spread of COVID-19.

Government tasked state government and stakeholders in the education sector to commence preparations for the full resumption of schools and also approved the extension of curfew from the initial 10 pm to 4 pm to 12 am to 4 am.

The extension of the mandate of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF), was extended from September till December 31.

Briefing reporters in Abuja, Dr. Sani Aliyu, National Coordinator of the PFT said, “For educational institutions, which include day-care, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, educational institutions should begin the process of working towards potentially reopening within this phase.

“However, we strongly recommend that states conduct a risk assessment to ensure all schools are at a level of compliance and create a monitoring mechanism to assess, create and monitor this level of preparedness.

“Meanwhile, all day-cares and educational institutions are to remain closed to in-classes until this level of risk is assessed. And if there will be opening of schools, it must be staged and preferably carried out in phases to ensure that this does not pose a risk to the general public and in particular to vulnerable groups that might end up getting infected by students going back home.”
Aliyu added that the nationwide curfew has been reviewed to start from 12am to 4 am from today.

He noted that people on essential services and international travelers were exempted from the curfew. The task force extended the current work-at-home policy for civil servants below Grade level 12.

According to Aliyu, the private sector has been given the liberty to determine the highest working capacity within their office in view of their office space while ensuring safety of personnel.

Also approved was removal of restrictions on opening days of markets, limits on stores inclusive. Aliyu stated that amusement parks, gyms and cinemas could open at half capacity, while bars and nightclubs are to remain closed till further notice and that only outdoor events centres can open for service.

Government equally mandated the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to commence preparations for reopening of camps.

Aliyu said: “For the National Youth Service Corps, the NYSC is to consolidate on safety measures currently being put in place and start preparing for the reopening of orientation camps when educational institutions open.

“We are in the process of developing strict guidelines to ensure there is no outbreak of COVID-19 when this process starts.”
According to him, the NYSC can only reopen orientation camps when the tertiary institutions open.

He announced increment of guests at weddings, meetings and burials to 50 persons from initial 20 while maintaining restriction on visiting of patients to immediate family.

In his address, Boss Mustapha, Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation announced the extension of the six-month mandate of the group till December 31 by President Buhari.

Mustapha who said the latest adjustments mark the beginning of the third phase of eased restrictions said the current phase will last until such a time when the threat of coronavirus is sufficiently tackled.

He expressed concern over prevalent situations in South Africa and Ethiopia, given the spike in their confirmed cases.  He said Nigerian government is weary of passenger traffic between Nigerian and the two countries as international flights are set to resume tomorrow.

Mustapha expressed government’s displeasure with the lack of willingness of Nigerians to be tested despite the increased diagnostic capacity, stressing impedes the gains made in combating he pandemic.

He said, ”Nigerians will all recall that at the onset of the eased lockdown, the PTF drafted a three-phase strategy of easing the restrictions, ahead of a full reopening of the society and economy. In determining what phase of the strategy to move to, the PTF tried to balance the public health and economic considerations alongside data analysis. The PTF believes that while Nigeria is not ready for a full re-opening of the economy, there has been sufficient progress to warrant significant further relaxation of the restrictions applied.


Source: ThisDay

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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