As schools reopened this week, the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), has called on the Federal Government to enforce compliance with Covid-19 protocols in other to save lives and livelihood.
The National President of the association, Chief Yomi Otubela who briefed journalists recently, via Zoom, said there should be reduced hours of learning within the school environment to reduce the probability of exposure to the virus, adding that the government
should also put in place enforcement mechanism of all non pharmaceutical protocols in the schools' system.
"The schools have been at the forefront of support for strict adherence to the Covid-19 protocols as recommended by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) within the school environment. This assertion can be supported by clean bills of health received by various schools management during the earlier visits of government's monitoring teams on Covid-19 safety protocols to schools in the country."
Otubela who spoke on the harshtag #KeepSchoolsOpen, added that so far, schools have been putting in place the safety protocols practices such as enforcement of the use of facemasks for learners, teachers, support staff and visitors; provision of facility to ensure frequent washing/sanitising of hands with alcohol-based sanitiser, daily temperature reading, observance of physical distancing rules in classes, among others.
He suggested staggered reopening of schools where some students attend schools in the morning and others in the afternoon or alternative days of the week especially for public schools with a high population of students, while this may not apply to private schools due to a manageable number of students per school.
"Phased reopening of schools for different classes could be adopted. Reduced hours of learning within the school environment to reduce the probability of exposure to the virus and creation of isolation room within the school environment for those who suddenly show symptoms of illness while in school should also be adopted," the national president said
He expressed concern that majority of students live in unorganised environments that are not helping to curb the spread of the virus, so putting them in organised environments like schools, protect them better especially when their parents/guardians are at work.
"NAPPS as an association has also put in place its internal monitoring committee to ensure private schools in the country continue to adhere to the recommended Covid-19 safety protocols. Schools provide a safe environment for vulnerable children whose parents are front liners in the fight against Covid-19 . In a city like Lagos, where parents are always out of home , schools come to the rescue to keep these children safe ,"he stressed.
Given the increase in crime and social vices among the youths and teenagers, the national president appealed to government to enforce little hours at work for workers to enable them return home on time to attend to their children.
"NAPPS would continue to engage both the government and other stakeholders on the need for resumption of schools without further postponement in the country, just as school are prepared to observe as usual, the necessary protocols to prevent the spread of the virus."
While commending the federal government for it's decision to support private school teachers through their palliative programme, Otubela called on on parents to own the fight against the spread of Covid-19 through Parents Teachers Association (PTA).
"PTA should form Covid-19 compliance officers among parents that will rotate visitation to schools on regular basis for compliance," he said.