Schools in states including Enugu, Ekiti Lagos, Ogun, Ogun, Ebonyi, as well as the Federal Capital Territory resumed academic activities on Monday for the second term of the 2020/21 academic year with partial compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
Our correspondents, who visited some schools in Abuja and states which resumed academic activities, reported that many public schools observed COVID-19 protocols, while others violated them.
Public schools suspended early morning assemblies. But some pupils were seen entering their various classes without washing their hands or having them sanitised.
At the L.E.A Primary School Gbazango, Abuja, only two out of over 15 pupils who went in as our correspondent observed them from the gate, wore face masks. Their hands were neither washed nor sanitised as they entered the school.
Also, at Karu in the Abuja Municipal Area Council, schools observed the protocols partially.
At the Government Secondary School, Karu, two spots for washing of hands were provided at the school gate.
For the about 15 minutes that The PUNCH correspondent monitored events from the gate, however, only one female member of staff was seen washing her hands before entering the premises.
Other members of staff and pupils did not do so. More compliance was however noticed among private schools.
Pupils without face masks sent home
The Head teacher of the Local Education Authority Primary School, Narai-Karu in the Abuja Municipal Council Area, Mrs. Saratu Ishaku, sent some pupils without face masks back home.
Our correspondent also observed that Ishaku stopped parents, guardians and visitors without face masks from gaining access to the school’s premises.
Speaking to one of our correspondents, Ishaku said she would continue to send pupils without face masks back home until there was absolute compliance.
She said, “Our teachers have also been mandated to lead by example by making sure that they use the face masks appropriately.”
Some schools, however, took the safety measures seriously in Kubwa, a satellite town in Abuja.
The three schools visited – Government Junior Secondary School Byagin, Government Secondary School, Byagin and Government Secondary School Kubwa II – showed compliance.
School officials were seen enforcing the “No Mask, No Entry” policy as some students were refused entry for not wearing masks.
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However, journalists in Lagos on Monday were denied access to monitor compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.
During visits to some schools, including Babs Fafunwa Millenium Senior Grammar School, Babs Fafunwa Millenium Senior Secondary School, Ojodu Junior Grammar School, Ojodu Junior High School in the Ojodu/Berger area of the state, our correspondents and other journalists were denied entry into the schools.
Some staff members said they had been warned to avoid journalists.
A principal said, “Only journalists that accompanied officials from the ministry of education are allowed access to cover activities in the school.”
But the Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Education, Kayode Abayomi said, “I just got to know about that; and that is why the commissioner said the press should follow her instead of going independently.”
Also in Gombe State, some government schools did allow journalists to come into their premises.
In Orji secondary school, the principal told one of our correspondents that they were not allowed to grant the media access.
He said, “Go to the commissioner and get a permit before we can talk to you or grant to access. We were told not to allow journalists to come.”
But the Information Officer, Ministry of Education, Saidu Malala, described such order as unprofessional for journalists to be barred from covering public schools.”
Similarly in Ogun State, some government schools in the Obafemi Owode Local Government Area partially complied with the COVID-19 directives.
The correspondent, who observed activities in some schools in the Ibafo, Mowe and Ofada areas of the state, noticed that some of the safety rules on COVID-19 were partially observed or not observed at all.
At the Obafemi Owode Local Government School 1, Ibafo, it was observed that most of the pupils were not wearing their face masks.
At the Obafemi Owode Local Government School 2, where there was a low turn out of pupils; most pupils also were not using their face masks.
There was no provision of water and soap until one of our correspondents called the attention of a teacher to it.
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At St. Andrew’s Nursery and Primary School, Ibara and Owu African church central school, Ita-Oyalode, Abeokuta, the state capital, it was business as usual as students went into their classrooms without washing their hands.
While buckets of water and soap were placed at strategic points within the two schools, the students ignored them.
At African Church Grammar school, teachers were at the gate as early as 7am sending students without face masks away from the school. This only lasted for an hour as our correspondent who visited the school again later discovered that there was unhindered entry without face masks.
Pupils at the Gateway Secondary School, Ita-Iyalode, developed cold feet following the presence of the teachers at the school gate.
However, one of the pupils that had entered the school came out to inform her friends that there was no restriction. This prompted others to go into the school. Some of the pupils in the school compound were, however, seen with their face masks.
Also in Ondo State, the adherence to the COVID-19 protocols was ignored at the schools visited.
At Oyemekun Grammar School, Akure, it was observed that the school provided buckets of water, soap and sanitisers at the school gate, but many of the pupils did not make use of them.
A large number of students were also observed to have removed their nose masks after gaining entrance into the school premises.
It was zero compliance at Eji-Oba High School, Oba-Ile in Akure North, Local Government Area of the state, without buckets of water, soap and sanitisers provided at the school gate, both the teachers and pupils walked in without face masks.
At St. Louis Grammar School, Akure and Fiwasaye Girls’ Grammar School, there was partial compliance with the protocols.
The Principal of the Oyemekun Grammar School, Mr Ogunleye Okeowo, said the pupils who flouted the guidelines would be sent home.
He said, “We have to abide by the rules of COVID-19 protocols. It’s real and we must not joke with it.”
Expressing concern over the development, the Permanent Secretary, Ondo State Ministry of Education, Mr Akin Asaniyan said parents should be blamed for most of the non-compliance attitude of the pupils.
He said, “The parents are not taking it seriously. Most of them allowed their children to resume without face mask and some basic things. Why taking such risk?”
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