…Lagos schools resumption slated for September 21
Last week, the authorities of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre announced that primary and secondary schools would resume by September 21.
Nigeria Today correspondent, Biodun Busari went around the city and spoke to school owners, teachers and parents about the Lagos schools resumption and found that while private schools were optimistic about the resumption and are making the necessary preparations, public schools appear not prepared and are worried about controlling the population of pupils and students.
The lack of preparation on the part of public schools might not be unconnected with the confusion around the recommencement of schools as Lagos State Ministry of Education dissociated itself from the academic calendar flying around in the social media.
The statement from the Public Affairs Officer of the Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA), Mr. Emmanuel Olaniran had warned that the academic calendar being circulated about Lagos schools resumption did not originate from its office.
The statement above also corroborated the word “tentative” used by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu while commenting on the reopening of non-tertiary schools on September 21.
But a class teacher in Clasam Group of Schools at Abule-Egba of Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area, Mr. Prince Aliyu described the effort of the private schools for schools reopening as “absolutely prepared.”
“The thing is that resumption is tentative as many public schools are not ready with logistics to take care of the students and pupils when they resume,” Mr. Aliyu said.
“Private schools control less population of students in classrooms, therefore all the necessary equipment to check the spread of COVID-19 among students are already in place. I can tell you that private schools are absolutely prepared. The ball now is in the public schools’ court if schools will resume or not.”
While speaking on the same issue, Mrs. Elena Olowookere, freelance Diction and Phonetics teacher for private schools in Lagos stated that “it’s in the news that schools are resuming September 21 except otherwise stated. However, I think private schools are basically ready to resume because all of them have put the necessary tools in place. Wash-hand basins, hand-held thermometers to check the temperature, and hand sanitizers are available.”
Meanwhile, a public school teacher who preferred anonymity said otherwise. According to her, her school Eko Junior College at Oja-Oba near Abule-Egba is prepared with the provision of all the basic equipment. She, however, pointed out that managing the population in the class remains unsolved now.
“In my school at Eko Junior College, the basic tools to curtail coronavirus are strategically in place. Even water is running in the school for washing of hands. However, I need to say that the only concern is how to manage the students in the class. For instance, students that are a hundred in class before COVID-19 will be reduced to like twenty or thirty in the class. Such an arrangement is what we’re looking at,” she said.
However, the narrative is different in some private schools as they yet to finalise on the preparation. A secondary school teacher that did not want to reveal the identity of the school located at Ogudu in Kosofe Local Government Area, Mrs Dorcas Jamani said that management and staff are yet to meet on certain issues revolving around resumption.
“The management hasn’t met with members of staff in terms of spacing, that is, number of children per class. The plan last week was for online learning to start, but the management of the school is yet to give update for physical resumption,” Mrs. Jamani disclosed.
Similarly, a teacher at A Prince With God Nursery and Primary School situated at Mushin Local Government Area, Miss Oluwakemi Kehinde said that “the management of the school is prepared to work with the teachers on new development as far as safety measures are concerned. The final arrangement will be concluded by Friday to ascertain the resumption”.
Furthermore, while parents are also anticipating the recommencement of schools for their wards and children, Mrs. Olajide, who has two kids at Mount Pleasant School located at Okota, Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area, said schools can resume provided the health of the children are safeguarded and proper measures are planned.
She said: “Yes, I want my children to resume. They are safe since the school has provided safety measures. If all the schools provide an efficient system of washing hands, disinfecting the school environment every day, and avoid delaying parents when they come to pick up their children.”