The Enugu State government has disclosed their readiness to deal decisively with any school (private or public) that fails to implement or obey the COVID-19 protocols as stipulated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC.
Speaking with our correspondent in his office today, the commissioner for Education, Enugu State, Professor Uche Eze said his ministry is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring compliance to the directive by the NCDC.
He also stated that the state Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s intervention in the state of our public schools is making the compliance to social distancing very possible as the government has constructed over 1,200 classroom blocks even before the outbreak of the pandemic.
In his words: ” Before resumption, we held a meeting with the Boards of Enugu State Universal Basic Education; Post Primary School Management; Science Technical/Vocation Schools Management; the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools; Catholic/Anglican/Methodist Education Boards and National Union of Teachers, and agreed on the guidelines to follow and resume in a safe environment. We worked out a guideline which was distributed to all schools. The major part of that guideline is that every teacher, pupil/student, worker and visitor coming to the school must wear face masks and nobody should be allowed into the school without it.
“All schools should make available, hand washing facilities with soaps and clean water as well as a hand sanitizer. We also agreed that we will maintain social distancing in our schools. To ensure that students do not gather in the school, we banned all forms of morning assembly.
“As I move around, I tell our Headteachers and Principals that any school that fails to meet up with the minimum compliance level, the principal of headteacher of the school will be removed as it simply shows he/she isn’t capable of managing the school. Any school (private or public) that falls significantly below standard will be shutdown as we won’t allow any school spoil the efforts of government.
“Governor Ugwuanyi is a futuristic leader. Between 2015 and 2020, His Excellency, Governor Ugwuanyi has constructed/reconstructed/renovated over 1,200 class room blocks. So, His Excellency has expanded the schools so much that the classrooms that are needed for social distancing are there.”
Speaking further on the preparedness of the state government to balance the academic academic, Prof. Eze said that the state consulted all the relevant stakeholders and they’re in tandem with all the decisions of the state.
Prof. Eze said; “What started on Monday was a continuation of the first term that started on the 7th of December, 2020 and by the postponement of school resumption by two weeks, the state factored this in thus, the first term will end on Friday, February 26th, 2021. There will be no holiday, what they have is just a weekend and on the 1st of March, they will commence their second term which will last till May 24th, 2021 and the students will be given a 1 week break and by May 31st, they will resume for their 3rd term which will end on August 20th, 2021.
“If this calendar is maintained, we believe that we will be able to recover all grounds that has been lost.
“This academic calender is for both private and public schools because all stakeholders was carried along during the planning,” Prof. Eze concluded.