Amid the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic and full reopening of schools especially in Lagos state, the Centre for 21st century Issues (C21st), hereby calls for prompt monitoring of COVID-19 infection, prevention and control in private and public schools.
The recent news about schools recording positive cases especially in Lagos and Oyo is a pointer to the fact that school managements and the state governments respectively must put up a concise strategy geared towards monitoring and controlling the spread of COVID-19 infection among private and public students.
While it is saddening that the long-term impacts of the raging COVID-19 pandemic pose a huge threat and challenge to the education sector, it should be noted that without adequate, prompt and effective response, the infection has the potential to monumentally disrupt and weaken the system further.
The state government must ensure enforcement as regards obeying the stipulated COVID-19 rules, and schools — private and public — that fail to adhere strictly to the outlined COVID-19 safety protocols, risk closure if there is an outbreak from such institutions.
There is a prompt need for a concise strategy and framework which will mobilize a coalition of all stakeholders across the state to effectively participate in the monitoring and control of the infectious disease. Everyone including students, parents and stakeholders must continue the preaching and also adhering to the messages of social distancing and use of face masks as well as thorough hand washing exercise to cut the chain of transmission.
Schools should collaborate with state and local health officials at this critical phase. School managements must be ready to adjust to meet the unique needs and circumstances of students. Most importantly, the health, safety, and wellbeing of students, teachers, staff, and their families should be of utmost importance to the state government.
It is important to adopt and diligently implement actions to slow the spread of COVID-19 especially among students. This means that students, families, teachers, school staff, and all community members must also take actions to protect themselves and others where they live, work, learn, and play. Some of these actions includes – promoting behaviors that reduce COVID-19’s spread, maintaining healthy environments, cleaning and disinfection, maintaining healthy operations, protections for staff and children at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, staying home when appropriate Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, adhering to usage of Masks and others.