The Lagos state government has postponed resumption in all public primary and secondary schools within the state till October 8, 2014.
On September 5, the federal government had directed schools all over the country to resume on September 22, after expressing satisfaction with the progress made in containing the spread of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
Five days later, Lagos state commissioner for health, Jide Idris gave the first hint that the state may not heed the directive, saying the state was still “not sure” of the date.
Days later, the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) said the date set by the FG was “not certain” and would only be adhered with if all provisions to curtail a possible Ebola outbreak among pupils were put in place.
However, on September 12, special adviser to the Lagos state governor on information and strategy, Lateef Raji, revealed the decision of the state government to reopen schools on September 22, saying there was no longer any Ebola case in the state.
But speaking on Sunday at a consultative meeting with officials of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola said the state executive council picked October 8 as the new resumption date after considering the fact that the Eid-El-Kabir public holiday is already around the corner and it would not be ideal to break the school programme again soon after resumption.
schools were to open on the earlier scheduled date, for the collection of preventive equipment against the ebola virus disease, as earlier promised by the state government.
“Schools reopen tomorrow (Monday, September 22) but for the purpose of preparing the schools and tidying up loose ends and then instead of having the children resuming and then breaking up for Eid, let the Eid period run then we start full blast,” Fashola said.
“That is what my colleagues and I have worked on all night and that is what you are likely to see across the schools going forward.”
Meanwhile, other states in the southwest already postponed resumption to October 8 in order to accommodate the Independence Day celebration on October 1 and Eid-el-Kabir, which will be before October 8.
But the governor said the state’s postponement of resumption had no relationship with the decision of other states, rather the peculiarity of the state with EVD.
“Some states that may want to reopen tomorrow (September 22) didn’t have an outbreak of Ebola; Patrick Sawyer didn’t land in their states; he landed here,” he said.
“I am not afraid or ashamed to tell you that I was scared of the Ebola disease. I am not ashamed to say it, but being afraid does not solve the problem…I have a job to do, so I do not let fear over come me. The doctors have told us that the schools are safe to reopen, so let us go back to our schools and observe preventive measures.”
He assured the teachers that the government was working assiduously to see to the provision of water to about 800 schools within the state.
Chairman of the state Chapter of NUT, Comrade Adesegun Raheem, appreciated the sensitivity of the government with respect to the resumption date and Ebola, expressing readiness of the teachers to work with the government on whatever challenges may come up along the line.