FG approves ‘safe reopening’ of schools, lifts ban on inter state travel

The Federal Government has announced the approval of what it called “safe reopening” of schools nationwide in the next phase of the gradual easing of lockdown implemented to curtail further spread of COVID-19 in the country.

However, not all students are allowed to resume as only graduating students will resume.

The ban on interstate movement has also been lifted, effective from July 1, 2020.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, disclosed this at the ongoing daily briefing of the task force in Abuja on Monday.

He said the reopening of schools was meant to allow students in graduating classes resume preparation for examinations.

He disclosed that the latest developments were contained in the task force’s fifth interim report which was submitted to the President Muhammadu Buhari, earlier in the day.

Mustapha said, “I am pleased to inform you that Mr President has carefully considered the 5th Interim Report of the PTF and has accordingly approved that, with the exception of some modifications to be expatiated upon later, the Phase II of the eased lockdown be extended by another four weeks with effect from Tuesday, June 30, 2020 through Midnight of Monday, 27 July, 2020.

“Specifically, however, the following measures shall either remain in place or come into effect:

“Maintaining the current phase of the national response, for another four weeks in line with modifications to be expatiated by the National Coordinator;

“Permission of movement across state borders only outside curfew hours with effect from 1st July, 2020;

“Enforcement of laws around non-pharmaceutical interventions by States, in particular, the use of face masks in public places;

“Safe re-opening of schools to allow students in graduating classes resume in-person in preparation for examinations;

“Safe reopening of domestic aviation services as soon as practicable;

“Publication of revised guidelines around the three thematic areas of general movement, industry and labour; and community activities;

“Provision of technical support for states to mobilise additional resources for the response.”

National coordinator of PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu also added that only fifty percent of the passengers of the buses are allowed during travels.

“Only 50% of the passengers are allowed with compulsory use of face mask,” he said.

The PTF, however, reaffirmed the continuation of the nationwide curfew between 10 pm and 4 am adding that “travels are not expected at this period.”

He said: “Students in only graduating classes – Primary 6, JSS 3 and SS3, will be allowed to resume in preparation for examinations.

“All daycares and primary schools remain closed till evaluation. Schools are encouraged to continue with the electronic learning and visual teaching, but the pupils may proceed to take the National Common Entrance as soon as it is feasible, provided that they are compliant with issued non-pharmaceutical interventions.

“For secondary and tertiary institutions, all schools are to remain closed till further evaluation. Arrangements are to be made for exiting graduating students in JSS 3 and SS 3, to resume at both boarding and day schools as soon as possible for intensive revision exercise exercises.”

He further added: “All educational establishments are to conduct exhaustive reviews to ensure compliance with the issued guidelines on COVID-19 before the opening up for this purpose. They will open up only for the purpose of exiting students.

“Arrangements to be made for students taking part in NABTEB and BEC exams, WAEC examinations, NECO and sub exams respectively.

“All schools must comply with the strict recommended steps and required measures to be issued by the federal Ministry of Education before an institution is reopened in the timeline to be provided.”

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