How Nigeria can reopen schools amid COVID-19 fears

How Nigeria can reopen schools amid COVID-19 fears

As education is being reshaped around the globe in response to COVID-19, Nigeria should not be left out.

Since COVID-19 forced all our schools/institutions to close, our students have remained at home for over two (2) months. While the Nigerian government is adopting an e-learning structure for school pupil, it hasn’t met the objective as most pupil are either not carried along or decide to neglect what the government is doing.

The same way the Nigerian government is setting up modalities to reopen the economy, schools/institutions should be given priority considering the effect of prolonged stay at home can cause.

Reopening schools/institutions amid the COVID-19 epidemic is not out of place as some countries are already reopening schools for learning.

CNN reported in their twitter handle how some countries are reopening schools for learning and measures they are adopting.

These modalities can also be adopted, restructures or improved on by the Nigerian Government.

 

Here are what some countries are doing:

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had made recommendations for reopening schools/institutions which includes reduced hours, social distancing and extended dismissals.

  • Staggered returns

– In South Korea, students won’t return all at once.

Middle schools, elementary schools and kindergartens will be open by June 1, Yoo said.

– Most of Vietnam’s 22 million students returned to class Monday, after a months long closure, according to state media Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

But online and televised classes will continue with new schedules and reduced in-person teaching, the report said.

– In Austria, students will split into two cohorts to attend school every other day to allow for distancing, Education Minister Heinz Fassmann said, according to reports.

  • Smaller classes

– Israel is beginning a phased return over the next few weeks and setting a maximum limit of 17 students in each classroom.

The Ministry of Education told CNN that attendance was about 60% in the schools that did open earlier this week, possibly a sign that parents were nervous about sending their children back.

  • Spaced-out desks

Denmark, which was one of the first nations in Europe to close shops, restaurants and schools, has welcomed children back to class.

Desks are placed so students sit at least 2 meters or 6 feet apart.

  • Lunch in classrooms

Schools in Denmark are also having children eat lunch in their classrooms to avoid students gathering in larger groups.

  • No older staffers

– In Australia, the government has asked older or more vulnerable members of the school community to work from home if possible.

  • Distancing in hallways

– Germany is requiring social distancing for students in and out of classrooms, with some schools taping distance and direction markers on floors to keep people safely apart.

  • Really wide hats

An elementary school in Hangzhou, China, helped children to keep their distance by making hats for them to wear in the classroom, the People’s Daily reported.

 

Wherever children and teachers have been welcomed back to school, masks seem to be a near constant.

 

Though Nigeria may not adopt everything other countries are using, but there are very important protocols that could be adopted.

 

What Nigerian government should do to return student to classes amid COVID-19 fears

Decontamination of premises: Any school that plan to reopen must first consider decontamination of the school premises. School management can liaise with experts to know how to go about it. Evidence of decontamination should be presented before resumption is approved.

Provision of a hand wash point at entrance: School management must provide a hand wash point at every entrance into the premises.

Temperature assessment at entry point: School management should ensure check of temperature of all individual students entering the school premises using the infrared thermometer. Student with sustained high temperature, i.e (Temperature above 38 degree Celsius) should be advised to go back home.

Staggered resumption: Like in South Korea, students don’t return to school at once. This can also be adopted in Nigeria. School owners/school management can set up a structure where student can return to school in batches. This is to be able to ensure social spacing.

Smaller classes/Space out desk: This is equally to ensure social spacing. School management must reduce the number of student in class rooms to be able to meet up on the 2 meters spacing target between desks.

Exclusion of aged staff: It has been confirmed that the aged are more vulnerable, this is why it is advised that the aged should be left out on resumption or advised to work from home where necessary.

Lunch in class: Student are advised to take their lunch in the class to avoid getting crowded in the canteen.

COVID-19 awareness for school staffs: All staffs should be put through COVID-19 awareness training. They should understand the mode of transmission of the virus, symptoms and prevention strategies. This is to help them recognize suspected cases and report immediately.

School should set up report channel for reporting suspected cases. This should involve mobile numbers for call, whatsapp, or mail

Reduced hours: Schools can reduce teaching hours so that it can accommodate two (2) set of student in a day.

Ensure good ventilation in class rooms

Older students should be advised to use half face mask

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