Nigeria: Covid-19 - Proprietors Demand Reopening of Schools in Kwara

17 September 2020

On Thursday, proprietors of Islamic schools in Kwara State appealed to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to facilitate the reopening of schools in the state.

Except for the resumption of exit class students, schools across the state have been shut down since March in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed over 1000 lives across the country.

So far, the country has recorded over 56,000 infections since the pandemic broke out in February.

Although some state governments have announced dates for the reopening of schools, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has warned against hasty reopening of schools.

Although the Kwara government has announced plans to work towards full resumption, no date has been announced.

The chairperson of the association of Islamic schools, Abdulrazaq Oniye, who spoke with journalists in Ilorin, the state capital, said they believe the state is now safe for schools to reopen.

He said "the partial reopening of schools for the exit classes examinations has shown that the time is right for full reopening," adding that private school owners have lost millions of naira as a result of the lockdown.

However, he urged the government to review levies and taxes on private schools in the post COVID-19 era considering the economic blows, the pandemic has dealt on their finances.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, People's Advocacy Network, a civil society organisation, has warned the state government against reopening schools without safety measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus in the state.

This was contained in a statement signed by the organisation's Assistant Publicity Secretary, Olaitan Abdulraheem.

According to the copy obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, the group stated that going ahead with her plan to reopen schools without COVID-19 training for school heads and teachers amounts to endangering the lives of both staff and pupils.

"We are very much aware that some states in the federation like Lagos, Osun have long commenced the training programme without delay. We do hope that the KWSG will follow suit as such a training programme will ensure that teachers in the state are well abreast of global transformational teaching techniques in the post COVID-19 era."

"We hope the KWSG will take full responsibility if the pandemic should grow wings and destroy the lives of students and staff after school resumption as any further delay could be deadly," the statement read.

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