With the approval of the Federal Government that classes should resume for only SS3 students to enable them prepare for WAEC Examinations, the Akwa lbom State Government has provided guidelines for the reopening of Schools across the State.

The State Commissioner for Education ,Professor Nse Essien made this known in a meeting with Proprietors of Private schools across the state, held yesterday at Topfaith Schools, Mkpatak.

According to the Commissioner, all candidates for the examination must wear facemask as provided by their parents, schools must provide adequate number of classrooms for physical distancing, running water, liquid soaps,hand sanitizer as well as disposable tissues for cleaning of hands.

Prof Essien also emphasized that schools must maintain clean sanitary conditions in lavatories and conveniences, ensure provision of infrared thermometers, fumigation and general cleaning of schools and Make shift clinics incase a student falls sick and training of teachers on methods of teaching in the COVID 19 era.

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The Commissioner said Government has also decided that there should be no assembly of any nature, while only 5 to 10 minutes break are allowed for students, as the learners must arrive and depart at different times to avoid overcrowding.

The Education Boss noted that the use of outdoor shelter must be encouraged in the schools when the weather permits as special toll free number would be provided to enable easy communication with the medical team of the Covid 19 committee in case of emergency.

Prof Essien who stressed that the reopening of schools was strictly for SS3 graduating students, noting that Government’s decision to reopen schools is to allow the students sit for the WAEC examinations which is scheduled for 17th August 2020 across all participating countries.

He further stated that the phased and gradual reopening of schools was to enable teachers, students and pupils come to terms with and adjust to the protocols involved with the COVID 19. He cautioned that Government would not hesitate to close schools again if government guidelines are not adhered to.

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According to Prof Essien, a more detailed document on protocols, procedures as well as risk management assessments formats for safe reopening of schools and learning facilities have been placed on the COVID 19 infections, prevention and control committee chairmen’s WhatsApp group. He advised group members to download the 80 pages document and follow the guidelines, as any private school that does not meet the basic protocols and safety standards as well as obtain the COVID 19 compliance certificate will not be allowed to reopen.

Earlier, the Director Quality Assurance Services in the Ministry of Education, Mrs. Rosalyn Mfon said the meeting with proprietors was necessary to keep the proprietors abreast of Government guidelines for safe resumption of schools. She lamented the closure of schools occasioned by the pandemic which led to the students staying at home and expressed the hope that the meeting would adequately guide the proprietors on the needed information as schools reopens.

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A medical personnel from the Ministry of Health, Dr idongesit ltaketo during the meeting enlightened the proprietors on the pandemic, prevention and measures to curb the spread of the virus.

In his words of appreciation on behalf of the proprietors, the Proprietor of Topfaith International schools, Dr Emmanuel Abraham thanked the State Government for her decision to reopen schools with safety guidelines well spelt out, describing it as an indication of Government’s commitment to the wellbeing of her citizens.

In attendance were, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Mrs Helen Ante, Directors from the Ministry, Proprietor of Tower of lvory schools, DIG. Ekpoudom, Proprietor of Ritman schools, Senator Emmanuel lbokEssien, and Proprietress of kings and Queens Montessori schools Mr. Ekaette Ebong Okon.