The Lagos State government has announced full reopening of places of worship and also secondary schools. The State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu made the announcement on Saturday during a briefing.
He said that Muslims can now pray five times a day in the mosques while Christians are free to hold all their weekly services in the churches.
The governor said all public and private schools should reopen from Monday, September 21, 2020, but only students in Junior Secondary School Three (JSS3) and Senior Secondary School Two (SS2) are permitted to have physical classes in public schools.
According to him, the arrangement is to allow the students to prepare for their transitional exams. The JSS 3 students are to use the window to prepare for Basic Education Certificates Examination (BECE), which is scheduled for October 12, 2020. SSS 2 students will use the period to prepare for their transitional exam to SSS 3.
The arrangement however, allowed private schools to reopen fully, though there is suggested guideline for stakeholders to implement a phased protocol for the classes or alternate school days for the students in order to avoid crowding.
On the other hand, pre-primary schools, including nursery, daycare centers and kindergarten are not allowed to reopen in both public and private schools.
Mr. Sanwo-Olu said it is necessary to give details of the rules and protocols in order to clear confusion.
“It has become necessary to issue clarifications regarding the resumption of schools, in order to clear any confusion that may have arisen since the resumption date was announced. Public schools will adopt a phased protocol for resumption of physical classes. Students in JSS 3 and SSS 2 in public schools in Lagos are to resume physical classes from September 21.
“In the same vein, all private primary and secondary schools are permitted to resume from September 21. We have strongly advised school owners and managers to put safety and open in phases similar to the announced schedule for public schools.
“School owners and managers are advised to seriously consider implementing a staggered daily resumption schedule, classes on alternate days during the week, and utilization of distance learning methods as a complement to physical classes. All pre-primary – nursery, daycare and kindergarten – classes and schools in both public and private schools must remain closed,” he said.
The governor said the State Government has made arrangements for the safety guidelines and hygienic protocols to be monitored by the Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA), and will permit the restricted classes to resume when it’s sure that all protocols are being observed.
“For all other public school classes in primary school and JSS 1, JSS 2, and SSS 1, announcements for resumption will be made as soon as the State Government is satisfied that all necessary resumption protocols have been put in place. In the meantime, these yet-to-resume classes in public schools are expected to continue their lessons on our various distance learning platforms (online, radio, television and WhatsApp) pending the announcement of dates for physical resumption,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sanwo-Olu warned that for places of worship to reopen fully, they must abide by safety measures.
“As regards our places of worship, we are now also permitting the mosques to resume their five times a day prayers and in case of churches, they are now also permitted to resume their midweek services. we must not forget that the coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us, and we must therefore strive to prioritize the safety of all our children, teachers, parents, and the entire society,” he said.
On Saturday, September 19, 2020, Nigeria recorded 189 new cases to continue its streak of low numbers that started weeks ago. However, there have been 57,145 cases so far, resulting in 1,095 deaths.
The consistent decline of new cases has spurred the governments to remove the restrictions on businesses, schools and religious places. Lagos being the epicenter has witnessed a drastic increase in the number of discharged persons. Over 15,600 persons have been discharged, indicating dramatic decline in the number of Covid-19 related deaths.
Nevertheless, Mr. Sanwo-Olu said the state government will continue to make adjustments as required, but the gradual resumption of social, educational, and economic activity must never be taken as an excuse to let down our guard against the pandemic.