Oyo gives school resumption date amidst COVID-19

Seyi Makinde, Oyo State governor

The Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force has announced measures to reopen schools as it relaxed the curfew imposed on the state following the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Task Force made the decision public after a two-and-a-half-hour meeting presided by its Chairman, Governor Seyi Makinde.

It added that the curfew would now run from 10pm to 4am.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Taiwo Adisa, confirmed that other decisions reached included the resumption of classes for Primary 6, JSS3 and SS3 students from June 29; resumption of work by all category of workers at the state secretariat from June 22; opening up of mosques and churches, which are to operate at 25 per cent capacity; and the decision to limit public gathering to not more than 25 persons.

The statement indicated that the state secretariat, which was earlier shut on March 27 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and later reopened to staff on grade level 13 and above from Monday April 27, would now be opened to all other staffers from June 22.

According to the statement, students in critical classes are to resume at the end of June to ensure they are well-prepared for the public examinations ahead of them.

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The statement reads, “The schools are to observe the COVID-19 protocols as released by the Task Force, ensure that stations for washing of hands are provided in all schools, while all students are to compulsorily wear face masks.

“Schools are to provide hand wash points with the support of their Parents/Teachers Associations (PTA).

“The resumption of critical classes at the end of June 2020, would be two clear weeks ahead of the state’s drop-dead date of July 15. By that date, it would be decided whether other categories of students will return to the classes.

“Mosques and Churches are to reopen and operate at not more than 25 per cent capacity. The situation will be reviewed within the first two weeks. All worshippers are to compulsorily wear face masks.

“Night clubs are to remain shut even though the existing curfew, which used to run from 8pm to 5am is being aligned with that of the Federal Government, which runs from 10pm to 4am.

“The Task Force will not mind shutting down everywhere if evidence emerges that the COVID-19 safety protocols are being violated, or should there be an explosion in the number of cases; however, the state government will intensify enlightenment campaigns to ensure the safety of our people.”

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The statement also added that the resumption order will not affect the tertiary institutions for now, as the Task Force would review their situation and determine their state of readiness.

FG warns states against opening schools

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has warned states contemplating opening schools and viewing centres.

The warning was handed down by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 at its daily news briefing.

According to the Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, states should not move to open schools, viewing centres and others places that encourage large gathering.

Mustapha said: “The PTF appeals to state governments to embark on wider community testing, enforce rules on social distancing and step up community engagement, risk communication and pay attention to places of large gatherings.

“We have received reports that some states are contemplating the opening of schools, television viewing centres and other places where large gatherings could take place.

“The Presidential Task Force re-emphasises that it is not yet safe to do so and that utmost caution should be exercised in this regard.

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“The PTF guidelines should be complied with while considering decisions on this in the future.”

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