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Imo suspends resumption of schools as group raises concern over safety

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The Imo State Government has declared that schools will not resume in the state until all the COVID-19 safety protocols as advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) were ready.

Consequently, students in exit classes, who went to school on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 based on Federal Government’s directive, were turned back.

A statement issued by Commissioner for Education, Professor Bernard Ikegwuoha, explained that Governor Hope Uzodinma had not given any directives on reopening of schools.

On Federal Government’s directive for schools reopening, he said, “Please be advised that the Federal Ministry of Education only advised that state governors should determine resumption date for only students taking WAEC.

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“It stressed that states can only order resumption of schools if they have fulfilled all COVID-19 protocols, as long as the reopening date does not come before August 4, 2020. As such, all schools remain closed for the exit classes until the governor’s announcement.”

He said WAEC/WASCCE would commence on August 17, 2020, insisting, “Imo State government will respect that date and it remains sacrosanct. Be properly guided.”

In a related development, the South East Coronavirus Intervention Network (SCIN) has urged parents and guardians to pay adequate attention to the health of their children and wards amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

It stated this at its awareness campaign and outreach programme to Ezi Irete Community in Oru-West Council Area, warning that the move by some states to reopen schools may jeopardize efforts towards combating the spread of coronavirus.

Team Lead of SCIN in Imo, Chioma Egbuagha, who represented the Coordinator, Nze Meekam Mgbenwulu, said there was no concrete evidence to guarantee the safety of students, teachers and other members of the academic community when they resume.

She also urged community leaders, women and youths to partner in efforts to ensure general welfare and safety of the people, adding, “So far, we have not seen anything that convinces us that state governments are ready to reopen schools.

“Nothing much is on ground that will guarantee the safety of students and teachers from COVID-19. We can’t play politics with everything, especially as it concerns the health and lives of our children and future leaders.”

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