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Amidst COVID-19, Lagos schools reopen

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The students during lectures

• ‘Government Will Not Spare Any Institution That Disobeys Governor’s Directives’
Ostensibly tired of staying at home due to academic inactivity as a result of the shutdown over the Coronavirus pandemic, and other sundry reasons, some private primary and secondary schools in Lagos State are gradually ‘reopening’ under various guises.

And to beat public and government scrutiny, students, especially those preparing for exit examinations, such as the Junior Secondary School and West African Examination Council (WAEC), have been attending lectures in mufti, carrying a fewer books in their bags, most times outside the usual school environment, and quietly too.

For example, the management of a popular private school in Onipanu area of Odi-Olowo/Ojuwoye Local Council Development Area (LCDA) surreptitiously opened its facilities for students to learn, thereby shunning the directives of federal and state governments regarding the closure of public and private schools.

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According to The Guardian investigation, the primary and secondary school arms of the 11-year-old citadel of learning has been holding skeletal lectures for quite sometime now, with its proprietress of the school explaining that she allowed the teachers to be holding classes because of the present economic hardship in the country.

She added: “Initially, I was not aware of the coaching, but because of the economic condition, I agreed to be part of it with some of the teachers. The students were not much before, but I don’t know how the numbers increased.”

When The Guardian visited the school, over 70 students between the ages of four and 16 were seen in different classes of the primary and secondary sections.

One of them, Tope (other name withheld), affirmed that the school did not shutdown, adding: “Before the lockdown, after our normal school classes, our teachers asked us to be coming to school without uniform.

“They said the school would not be closed for us to continue learning. We have not missed anything at all. We only observed public holidays.”

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Similarly, so many other schools have been holding lectures or lessons midway into the lockdown for their Junior Secondary School Three (JSS3) and Senior Secondary School Three (SSS3) students who are due to take external examinations immediately the restrictions are lifted.

The lectures are held quietly outside the school premises, sometimes in batches to avoid overcrowding and attention. The token paid is per lecture, in most cases, and duration reduced to the barest minimum. That way, it is a win-win for the teachers and students.

Apart from violation of the shutdown order, adherence to stipulated COVID-19 protocols remains an issue.

Speaking to the head of monitoring and investigation arm of Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mrs Adetona Ayo, she said government would not spare any educational institution that disobeys the directives of governor Babajide Sanwo- Olu.

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