COVID-19: Bauchi schools reopen October 3rd

Given the low COVID-19 cases reported in the country now and the pressure from parents and councillors of the side-effects of prolonged school closure, Bauchi State Government has announced October 3rd as the date for reopening of all schools.

The development according to the Government is following that some states like Lagos, Kogi, Taraba, Plateau, etc., have already reopened their schools either fully or partially for the completion of the second term as the case may be.

The announcement was made by the Commissioner of Education, Dr Aliyu Tilde while briefing newsmen on Friday saying that the reopening is in line with all the discussions engaged in by all education stakeholders in the state.

The Commissioner said that “This development led to the meeting of School Exchange Program, Commissioners of Education of the 19 Northern states to discuss, among other things, the issue of schools reopening and calendar last week in Abuja, where a decision was taken that, subject to the approval of our respective Governors, schools will reopen between now and 30th October 2019”.

He further explained that The Ministry of Education summoned stakeholders to conclude arrangements for the reopening saying that, “At the meeting yesterday were representatives of the Ministry of Education. Ministry of Health, State Universal Basic Education Board, Bauchi State Agency for Nomadic Education, Special Schools Management Board, Army Education Corps, Nigerian Association of Private Schools, Nigerian Union of Teachers, Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, Association of Nigerian Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools, Parents Teachers Association, Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria”.

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He added that At the stakeholders’ meeting, it was resolved: That all primary and secondary schools in the state can start reopening on 12 October 2020, subject to the compliance of each with COVID-19 regulations on school reopening.

It was also resolved That in Bauchi State government should expand the COVID-19 school reopening template which was successfully used to reopen the SS3 classes last August to cover the reopening of the other classes involving 10 measures that are shown

Also resolved is That no school shall reopen unless and until it meets the conditions stipulated in the schedule which means that not all the schools may open on 12 October 2020.

The stakeholders also resolved That the NCDC focal person on COVID-19 in the state will monitor and ensure compliance with the conditions stipulated in the schedule.

All schools with low-class populations can resume fully and run their usual school hours since social distance can easily be achieved while observing other COVID-19 school protocols.

He explained that Schools with low-class populations that will ensure a reasonable safe distance, like in most rural areas can resume full academic activities on resumption.

According to him, Overpopulated schools in many urban and semi-urban areas, safe distance can be realized staggering the school hours and days vertically (morning and evening shifts) and horizontally (three days of school for each child per week between Monday and Saturday).

He said that The decision on which method to adopt for overpopulated schools is left to the supervising authorities at state and local government levels to take.

That to meet COVID-19 requirement for social distance, schools with moderate and high-class sizes will stagger their school hours and days vertically and horizontally as shown in the attached schedule.

That the decision of which social distance school model to adopt will depend on its supervisory authority. Local Education Authorities and Zonal Offices will discuss and approve the model that suits a particular public and private school in their domain. Holding a general meeting with the school supervisors, headmasters or principals is advised by the Ministry. All schools should contact their LEAse or Zonal Offices on this before reopening

That responsibility for reopening will be shared among the state government, local governments, schools, parents and PTA. The government will be responsible for the provision of water, holding room, testing, health focal person, monitoring of compliance and surveillance.

Parents will provide face masks for their children on all school days while Schools under the Ministry of Education are to use part of their N700/child PTA charges to provide infrared thermometer, COVID-19 buckets and soap, while the Ministry takes care of fumigation.

That schools under SUBEB and private schools can charge N200/child for the provision of infrared thermometer, covid-19 bucket, soap and decontamination.

Schools can, where the need arises, use between now and 12 October to collect the N200 from parents to enable them to meet the requirements mentioned in paragraph.

That 2019/2020 school calendar will continue until the end of this year and a new school year begins on 4 January 2021 and ending in 13 August 2021. Details are shown in the schedule attached.

That all schools should contract decontamination to BASEPA, which will issue a certification to that effect. No school shall reopen without prior decontamination certified by BASEPA.

The resolutions were approved by the Governor of Bauchi State, Senator Mohammed Bala Abdulkadir, Kauran Bauchi on 23 September 2020 and advised that it be given wide publicity for people to know.

Aliyu Tilde declared that “By this development, all teaching and supporting staff in public schools are required to fully resume work at their duty stations on 3 October 2020 in preparation for the resumption of the school calendar” .

He, however, warned that “Any school that opens without decontamination will be shut down by the NCDC focal person”.



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