Educationists Raise Fears, List Challenges as Schools Reopen

Some educators in Lagos State have identified some challenges that stakeholders will likely face as schools reopen on Monday, September 21, 2020.

The Lagos State Government had in a statement on Sunday said it would adopt a phased reopening of public schools while private schools were allowed to reopen its primary and secondary schools in the state.

The statement also directed nursery and pre-nursery schools in the state to remain shut till further directives.

The National Treasurer, Nigerian Union of Teachers, Mr Segun Raheem, in an interview with pressmen said one of the challenges expected was the inconsistent power supply which might lead to inadequate water supply for proper hygiene as stipulated in the Covid-19 guidelines.

He also said that teachers would be overstretched in their duties to obey the 30 students per class guideline.

“Inconsistent power supply which may lead to inadequate water supply and demand for proper hygiene in the schools’ restrooms. Schools without perimeter fence will find it difficult to stop members of the public from coming into the school environment and this will also make valid tracking and easy tracing difficult.

“The shortage of non-teaching staff that are expected to administer temperature testing, hand washing and checking of proper use of face masks and shields is another challenge. Also, the shortage of funds may affect the consistent disinfection of hard surfaces in schools.

“Other challenges include the inability to check on students to know if they are obeying social and physical distancing; timely access to medical assistance in a case of emergencies, particularly in rural and riverine schools,” Raheem said.

The Lagos State President, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, Mr Olawale Amusa, also maintained  that one of the challenges that would face schools was the introduction of blended learning.

 He said private school owners had made efforts to train their teachers on how to effectively teach students virtually.

He added that NAPPS was ready to resume, adding that all private schools’ ability to conduct the exit examinations without recording any casualty showed that they were prepared for the reopening of schools.

Amusa urged the state government to give grants and loans to members of NAPPS to cushion the effects of COVID-19 on proprietors.

“We thank God we did not record any casualty in private schools during the exit examination. It is an eye-opener to the fact that private schools in Lagos are ready for the full reopening of schools.

In his own view, the Lagos State NUT chairman, Mr Adedoyin Adesina, said the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment could likely pose as a challenge.

He said, “Fear may arise if the PPE, running water and good toilet facilities are not available. This may increase the chances of contracting the diseases may be on the increase.

“If the Lagos State Government adheres to what the stakeholders and committee of reopening of school recommended, the fear of a rise in the disease will be a thing of the past and the curve will be flattened.”

– Punch

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