FG not to pay salaries of private schools, says schools not safe to resume, releases guidelines for reopening

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Ahead of the planned resumption of schools at every level in the country, the Federal Government has released guidelines to adhere to.

The guidelines outlined actions, measures, and requirements needed for the safe reopening of schools after the COVID-19 pandemic. It, however, failed to disclose the date of school resumption.

According to the guidelines released by the Federal Ministry of Education in Abuja on Monday, the safe distancing measures in the new guidelines required that in schools and other learning facilities, learners should be supported to stay two meters apart.

The guidelines which were signed by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and Minister of State (Education), Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba was developed in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Health, and health safety experts in the country.

The document reads, “However, there are exceptions where the two-meter rule cannot be reasonably applied and other risk mitigation strategies may be adopted. Examples include early years, younger primary school children, and those with additional needs.

“In these circumstances, risk assessments must be undertaken with the best interests of the learners, teachers, and other education personnel in mind. The scenarios require organizing learners and children into small groups with consistent membership and compliance with the risk mitigation strategies. The membership of these groups should not change unless the NCDC public health guideline suggests otherwise.”

With the release of the document, the government would conduct a rapid assessment and determine funding requirement for upgrading infrastructure and facilities (such as classrooms, furniture, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene-WASH and ICT facilities) to meet and sustain prescribed safe school reopening requirements.

The government said it was time for it to plan and address the eventual safe reopening of schools and learning facilities.

Meanwhile, the minister of state for education ruled out the possibility of the Federal Government assisting private school owners financially to survive the pandemic.

He said he had however advised them to take advantage of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s window which had been provided by the Federal Government to support Small and Medium Scale Enterprises for salary augmentation provisions and loans.

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