COVID-19: Rivers govt to punish private schools violating school closure order

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The Rivers State government has reiterated that all public and private schools in the state remain closed, until the issue of COVID-19 is resolved.

Governments across Nigeria had earlier shutdown schools and other activities to curtail the spread of the deadly virus.

The Rivers State Ministry of Education especially warned management of private Schools against operating outside the confines of the state governments orders.

The State Commissioner for Education, Professor Kaniye Ebeku, gave the warning on Monday, while speaking with the management of Greenoak School and Royal Girls Academy, following an alleged exploitation report against the schools by some parents.

Ebeku said the state government will not tolerate flouting of the directive on the closure of schools and warned against exploitation of parents during the pandemic period under the guise of third term e-learning program.

The Commissioner also warned that all private schools within the state should desist from inviting parents to pay fees for the third term since no the state government has not made an official announcement for the commencement term.

The Commissioner said: “Your schools acted without authorities. The letters you sent to parents are being protested by the parents and government has a duty to protect the parents.

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“Schools have not open and therefore third term had not commenced to the extent of any private schools inviting parents to pay fees. Schools that have asked parents to start paying fees purported suggesting that third term had started. The Ministry of Education in the state has not announced resumption of school.

“The original academic calendar for 2019/2020 was suspended with immediate effect on March 23, when the closure of schools was announced by the Governor of the state.”

Ebeku however, directed the withdrawal of the letters forthwith and warned other private schools not to collect any fees for third term unless and until an agreement has been reached on the issue with all stakeholders.

He indicated that any school that violates this directive of the state government will face unpleasant consequences.

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