The Rivers State Ministry of Education has urged all schools to adhere to all COVID-19 health protocols to enable them to operate, as schools reopen on Monday, October 5, 2020.
Commissioner for Education, Professor Kaniye Ebeku, stated this at a meeting with Vice Chancellors of the state-owned universities and Heads of polytechnics and colleges.
“Schools are to reopen from Monday, October 5, 2020. However, there are conditions schools must comply with to ensure that we not only reopen but remain open,” she said.
He said all schools billed to reopen on that date must ensure that they install and provide handwashing facilities around the campus and all persons entering the campus environment must be subjected to temperature checks.
Ebeku stressed that schools must ensure that there was only one entry point into their campuses and must enforce and adhere to physical and social distancing.
He noted that schools must provide a temporary holding centre for people who show symptoms of COVID-19, adding that where practicable, schools should adopt blended learning approach in instructing students.
Speaking further, the commissioner advocated thorough sensitisation of students and teachers on the need to adhere to all COVID-19 protocols.
“We need to consider holding classes in two or more sessions to reduce crowds. We also need to ban social and sporting activities on campus. Overall, the schools should avoid crowding and overcrowding on the campuses.”
He also charged the school heads to ensure that there were no cases of spike or infection in their institutions, urging them to enact a rule to sanction any staff or student who flouts the COVID-19 protocols.
At another meeting, the ministry disclosed that private schools, which violate the COVID-19 protocols, might lose their approval.
Addressing stakeholders, Prof. Ebeku said the adoption of morning and afternoon sessions was aimed at avoiding over-crowding in schools with large populations.
He clarified that schools will reopen on October 5 for the third term 2019/2020 academic session for six weeks for JSS1, JSS2, SS1, and SS2 students, while the first term for the 2020/2021 session would commence on November 16, 2020.
“Schools must consider allowing few students on campus at a time and all schools must ensure physical and social distancing at all times. Make-up classes can be scheduled on Saturdays, although it is not compulsory,” he stressed.