Monday, 14 September 2020 05:49

Ekiti, Lagos lift lockdown restrictions on schools, religious centres, others

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Ekiti State Governor, Mr Kayode Fayemi, has announced September 21 date for reopening of primary and secondary schools in the state, ending months of school closure occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic.

Fayemi who disclosed this in a state-wide broadcast on Sunday evening also directed that tertiary institutions in the state be opened to students from October 2, subject to each institution’s Governing Council decision and strict adherence to safety protocols to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The governor stressed that the authorities of the tertiary institutions are to liaise with Ekiti Covid-19 Task Force for guidance on the appropriate measures to be put in place before reopening.

Specifically, the governor said students in SSS II, JSS III and Primary 6 are to resume on September 21, while students in SSS I, JSS II and Primary 5 and 4 are to resume from September 28.

Students in JSS I and Primary 1-3 are to resume on October 19, while pupils in Kindergarten and Nursery Schools are expected to resume on November 2, when more assurances of safety for their age bracket would have been established.

The governor noted that the decision to open more classes was taken because there has been no spike traceable to students in exit classes who are writing their certificate examinations saying: “This shows that our preventive measures to safeguard them from being infected has been effective.”

On worship centres, Fayemi disclosed that they can henceforth hold two services on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays while midweek services and night vigils are still prohibited.

He said: “After a careful review and advice by the experts, I am glad to announce that worship centres can now hold two services on Friday, Saturday or Sunday as the case may be but mid-week activities and night vigils remain suspended for now. Other protocols and regulations concerning worship centres reopening still subsist.”

Reprieve also came for residents of the state on social activities especially the ones taking place in halls and event centres with owners of such facilities now mandated to rent them to users on condition that they should not contain more than 50 per cent of their normal capacities.

In a similar development, Lagos State Government on Sunday announced plans for both public and private schools resumption after the lockdown as a result of  Covid-19 pandemic.

Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, said in a statement that both public and private schools were to reopen for a new 2020/2021 academic session.

”We also wish to congratulate SS3 students who have successfully completed their WASSCE exams and urge them to stay safe even as they await their results,” Adefisayo said.

She said that for the public schools, the ministry would be adopting a phased approach to opening the schools.

According to her, this phased approach to opening will enable public schools meet Covid-19 social distance rules and safety protocols.

”This will help us watch the behaviour of the pandemic as we gradually open up our schools.

”The present JS3 and SS2 students in public schools in the state are to resume classes from Monday, 21st of September, 2020.

”The resumption will permit the present JS3 students who are already in an exit class to revise and get adequately prepared for their forthcoming Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) organised by Lagos State Examination Board.

“It is scheduled between Tuesday, 6th and Monday, 12th of October, 2020. The resumption will also afford the present SS2 students an opportunity to prepare effectively for their transition to SS3,” she said.

The commissioner said that the scheduled dates and venues for Entrance Examination into Lagos State Model Colleges would soon be announced by the State Examination Board.

Adefisayo assured parents that announcements for opening of the other classes would occur as soon as the state government was certain of their safety.

She said that in the meantime, the unopened classes in public schools would continue their lessons on the various distance learning platforms (Online platform, radio, television and WhatsApp).

She added that the next phase for physical resumption would be announced in due course.

Adefisayo said that private primary and secondary schools in the state were permitted to resume from Monday, Sept. 21, 2020.

She said that the state government strongly encouraged school owners to put safety first and open in phases similar to the plans for public schools.

According to her, phased opening also includes 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.

”Please note that pre-primary classes and schools in both public and private schools will remain closed until further announcements are made.

”The state government wishes to remind schools that the pandemic is still with us and we must in all situations, make the safety of our children, teachers, parents and our community as a whole, our first priority,” she said.