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COVID-19: It’s dangerous to reopen schools, Anap Think Tank tells FG

COVID-19: It’s dangerous to reopen schools, Anap Think Tank tells FG
July 05
12:22 2020
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The Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank,  a group established to respond to the coronavirus disease, says the decision of the federal government to reopen schools portends a “great danger” to the pupils/students, teachers, and their families.

Last week, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 announced that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the reopening of schools for pupils and students in primary six, Junior Secondary School 3 and Senior Secondary School 3.

The task force said this would enable the pupils/students prepare for examinations to complete a phase of their education.

But in a statement on Sunday, Atedo Peterside and Abubakar Mohammed, chairman and vice-chairman of the group, asked the government to be mindful of the data that is showing an increase in the number of cases.

“The Anap Think Tank, however, views with great concern the proposal to reopen schools for graduating students. The science and data reveal that the pandemic is currently at the community transmission phase and is still approaching its peak,” the statement read.

“Having school children from different homes gather in enclosed classrooms and interacting closely for long hours at this stage of our epidemic will, in our opinion, portend great danger for the pupils, their teachers and their immediate families.

“Though the PTF has specified appropriate protocols as safeguards, we are aware that most schools, especially the public ones, will not have the required resources to put these in place, nor the wherewithal to moderate children’s behaviour.

“We therefore appeal to the government and all stakeholders involved, to exercise caution and follow the science of the disease as established, to avoid exposing the population to large-scale COVID-19 infections; let us not find ourselves in the situation of countries like Israel and South Africa that have had to reverse their premature school reopening, due to severe spikes in infection amongst the pupils, staff and their families.

“We urge that opening of schools be delayed for a few more weeks to see our COVID-19 epidemic peak and begin to reverse, before embarking on any school reopening plans, even for graduating classes. This is current global best practice.

“It is our belief that graduating students can still get back on track with their future careers by taking their examinations just ahead of general school reopening, when the epidemic curve might have flattened, and it is much safer to resume classes.”

So far, Nigeria has recorded 28,167 cases of COVID-19. While 11,462 patients have recovered from the disease, 634 people have died, according to data provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

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