As pressure mounts on the Federal Government to reopen schools across the country in the wake of the 2nd phase relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions on socio-economic activities, critical stakeholders in the health and education sectors have called on the Federal and state governments to exercise restraint in reopening schools.
In May, the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 had recommended that states be allowed to decide on the reopening of schools, has not fixed issued for resumption and reopening of schools across the country.
Calling for caution, the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, and the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, ALMSN, warned against any plan to rush to reopen schools.
In a similar response, the National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria, NAPTAN, and the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, said a critical appraisal of the situation must be done to arrive at a decision that would not lead to regret later.
On his own part, the President of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Prof Innocent Ujah said the coast was not yet clear to reopen the schools.
“We may not have to rush; if it is left to me I would say we should have waited for the next quarter and see what will happens. It is better to lose a session than losing our lives. It does not matter whether we are losing a session rather than escalating the community transmission and die of COVID 19. Nobody has the answer when it is rising or the trend.
Ujah, who frowned on the poor compliance of the public with the relaxation guidelines, argued that it is better to lose a session than lose lives.
“I think it is better to be alive than dying or be infected. I think we should be cautious. If the coast is not clear because we don’t even know the directions that we are going, the coronavirus cases are increasing. Fatality is increasing even though it is about is still under 3 percent but any one life lost matters.
In the views of the National Publicity Secretary, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, AMLSN, Dr Casmir Ifeanyi who expressed worry about Nigerians compliance to the lockdown protocols, said it is not safe to open schools now because Nigeria has not run enough tests for a reasonable time to determine the curve of the infection.
Also reacting to the development, the Lagos State Chairman of the NUT, Otunba Adesina Adedoyin, argued that the health factor must take pride of place in arriving at whatever decision.
According to the National President, NAPPS, Chief Yomi Otubela, a phased reopening was suggested by the Association even as it canvassed that pupils in primary six, students in Junior Secondary School 3 and students in Senior Secondary School 3 should be allowed to resume and sit for their final examinations before others would join.
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