Delta warns on reopening schools

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The Delta State Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education has issued warning to Chief Inspectors of Education (CIEs), Principals and Heads of Schools, against sending wrong signals on reopening of schools in the state amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Commissioner in charge of the ministry, Mr Patrick Ukah, gave the warning on Thursday in a statement.

Ukah spoke on the heels of insinuations in some quarters that the ministry had directed communities to clean up public schools within their jurisdictions or pay a certain amount of money.

He said that any CIE, Principal or School Head, foisting the cleaning of schools on communities do not have the backing of the ministry.

Ukah warned that those found to be involved in sending such misleading information would be sanctioned in accordance with extant rules of the state civil service and laws on the spread of fake news.

“Government alone cannot do everything in the school system. The ministry’s Public-Private Partnership unit is currently engaging relevant agencies, partners, organisations, philanthropists and well-meaning individuals to see how Government’s efforts can be complemented.

“The Federal Government recently released guidelines for the reopening of schools after COVID-19 pandemic closures, and the ministry has commenced the harmonisation of the document with that of the state schools reopening strategy,” he said.

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The Commissioner appealed to parents and the general public to be patient, saying the ministry was in consultations with both internal and external stakeholders, including relevant ministries.

“The stakeholders include All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Public Secondary Schools; Association of Primary School Heads of Nigeria; Private School Owners Association, and Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT).

“Others are: Management of State Universal Basic Education Board and Post Primary Education Board with a view to building alignment on the strategies for school reopening,” he said.

Ukah said that the ministry would also increase communication and advocacy with the Ministry of Information, Civil Society Groups and Delta Orientation Bureau as well as building synergy with School-Based Management Committees (SBMC).

He added that, “We are also partnering with Advocacy and Mentoring Committees, Parents’ Teachers’ Associations (PTAs), Transport Unions, Traditional Rulers and Faith-Based Organisations, including Christian and Muslim leaders, to help educate our students on social distancing.

“It is pertinent to state that the government is alive to its responsibility and is already ensuring that all schools are adequately provided with water and health facilities as demanded by the COVID-19 preventive protocols as we look forward to schools reopening soon.”

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Ukah said that as a responsible government, the health, safety, and security of learners, teachers and families were the state government’s priorities.

He said that the state government would guarantee the public, especially parents, of the safety of schools before, during and after COVID-19 pandemic.

EduCeleb.com earlier reported that so far, only seven states in Nigeria have already indicated readiness of reopening schools in phases by August.

Of them, Oyo State schools have been open for nearly two weeks now.

Schools across Nigeria were earlier shut in March as part of health safety measures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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