By Ime Silas

Akwa Ibom state government has finally heeded the calls from concerned citizens of the state for preventive measures to be put in place to curtail the spread of the Corona Virus pandemic, also known as Covid-19, some of which being closure of schools and banning public gatherings.

Recall that the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, had recently during his broadcast said there was no need to close down schools.

The position did not go down well with residents of the state who took to various platforms for information dissemination to register their rejection of the government’s stand.

But in what could be termed a u-turn, the government through its Ministry of Education announced this morning that schools in the state should tidy up their examinations and ensure closure on or before March 27.

Governor Udom’s Party, the PDP, has, after a report by The Profile Newspaper on their planned State Congress which they fixed for Tuesday (today), also postponed same.

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A statement today, signed by Akparawa James Edet, NPOM Director of Information reads: “The state government has directed all public and private schools in the State to conclude all examinations for second term 2019/2020 academic year on or before Friday, 27th March, 2020 and proceed on holidays immediately.

“The Commissioner for Education, Prof. Nse Essien gave this directive at a meeting with Heads of Educational Boards, Agencies and Tertiary institutions in the State.

Prof. Essien further directs that schools that have already concluded their examinations should proceed on second term holiday without further delay, as third term is expected to commence on 4th May, 2020.

“The Education Commissioner, charged School Heads to maintain high standards of hygiene in schools, educate the students and pupils, and ensure that all necessary precautions are taken to prevent possible outbreak of COVID 19 infection. He also mandated Zonal Education Offices and Local Education Committee Offices in the State to carryout routine surveillance in their domain to ensure strict hygienic compliance.

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“While appreciating the support and cooperation of parents in both public and private institutions, Prof. Essien affirmed that the West African Examination Council (WAEC) has suspended the 2019/2020 WAEC Examination till further notice, adding that prospective candidates will be duly informed on new commencement date for the Examinations”.