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Muslim women warn against reopening of schools

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The Criterion (Muslim Women In Business and Professions) has frowned at the decision of the Federal Government to reopen schools amidst steady rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.

The group said: “Reopening schools now may lead to severe consequences as experienced in other countries. For instance, South Korea reopened schools and had to shut them again when cases spiked.

“It was a similar case in Israel that also reopened the schools and had to shut them again. No doubt, there are not enough health care facilities to cater for citizens hence, resuming schools will endanger the lives of students as well as teachers,”

The National Ameerah of Criterion, Hajia Fatymah Oyefeso argued that there is no basis for school reopening at a time when the curve of COVID-19 has not flattened.

“Nigeria is not sufficiently ready to handle the potential outburst that can be associated with school reopening. The country does not have sufficient bed spaces in isolation centres.

“Hence, the government should allow more time to establish coping strategies like splitting schools into morning, afternoon and evening sessions, twice a week attendance, temperature screening for all, among others. These measures should be within a time-bound period and have a taskforce to enforce it”.

The group urged government to devise more effective approaches towards a safe reopening of schools.In an attempt to open the schools the group gave recommendations must be strictly put in place: Availability of at least two infrared thermometers in each school and routine temperature check on students; provision of hand sanitizers and sufficient hand washing points with emphasis on frequent washing of hands by teachers and students; body disinfectant at main entrances of schools or major facilities like hostels, offices, gates and others.”

Others are: Enforcement of social distancing by students including sitting arrangement and transportation to and from school; fumigation/decontamination of schools and environments before resumption and consistently afterward; enforcement of the use of facemask by students and teachers according to age tolerance; provision of adequate water supply (very important); provision of adequate number of cleaners to maintain environmental hygiene; and provision of an adequately equipped sick bay and at least medical personnel in each school.

In addition, the group recommended that to cushion the effect on school owners and teachers, the government should intervene in the payment of salaries or support private school teachers with palliatives similar to Central Bank of Nigeria promises to sustain Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. On the other hand, private school owners may need to look out by diversifying into other related businesses to survive. Likewise, teachers in private schools unfortunately may have to consider other means of survival in the meantime”.


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