The Federal Government has approved the safe reopening of schools nationwide in its next phase of the gradual easing of COVID-19 lockdown.
But, only Primary 6, Junior Secondary School 3, and Senior Secondary School 3, will be resuming. The safe resumption of schools was to allow pupils in graduating classes resume preparation for examinations.
Higher institutions, day care centres and other classes in primary and secondary schools will remain closed.
This was announced by Boss Mustapha, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, at the daily briefing in Abuja on Monday.
The COVID-19 PTF also announced the lifting of interstate travel ban from July 1.
Mustapha who had earlier before the announcement led members of the COVID-19 PTF to meet President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa noted that the COVID-19 death rate in Nigeria is low because most of those affected are between 31 to 40 years old.
He also announced that the resumption of domestic flights in the country had been approved, adding that President Buhari also approved the extension of the Phase II lockdown by another 4 weeks.
“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 Two 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 pupils in graduating classes resume in-person in preparation for examinations. Safe reopening of domestic aviation services as soon as practicable.”
Also speaking at the COVID-19 PTF briefing, Dr. Sani Aliyu, the PTF National Coordinator, said that the current curfew from 10pm to 4am will remain.
“The current nationwide curfew will remain. We will maintain restrictions on mass gatherings and sporting activities. Domestic aviation services will recommence.
“Movement across state boundaries will be allowed but only outside curfew hours. Pupils in graduating classes – only graduating classes; Primary 6, JSS 3 and SSS3 – will be allowed to resume in preparation for examinations.”
For motor parks, the COVID-19 PTF noted that transporters must adhere to guidelines that will be released by the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
Passengers must wear face masks, maintain social distance and their temperature must be checked.
“If you are not wearing a mask, you will not be allowed entry to the parks and terminals. We also expect transporters to arrange for crowd control. Buses must have a maximum of 50 per cent capacity,” he said.
“Non-compliance with the guidelines will result in withdrawal of permission to operate interstate mass transit,” he stated.
“For intrastate travelling, we will maintain the occupancy level for buses to 50 per cent and two passengers for taxis, but we will restrict movement in high-burdened local government areas to essential travels only. This will be part of the hotspot strategies that will be introduced,” Dr. Aliyu added.
He also said that companies working hours must not violate the nationwide (10pm to 4am) curfew.
“Offices must maintain working at 75 per cent capacity,” Aliyu added.
“For hotels, restaurants and eateries, there is no specific change. Hotels must observe all mandatory non-pharmaceutical interventions. Restaurants should remain closed for eat-in, with strict cleanliness guidelines except for restaurants that are serving hotel residents.”
Other places such as gyms, cinemas, nightclubs, recreational parks, communal sports, etc would remain closed.
“For educational activities, all day care and primary schools to remain closed until further evaluation. Schools are encouraged to continue with e-learning and virtual teaching. But pupils may proceed to take the national common entrance (examination) as soon as it is feasible, provided there is compliance with issued non-pharmaceutical interventions.
“For secondary and tertiary institutions, all schools to remain closed until further evaluation. Arrangements are to be made for exiting graduating students in the JSS 3 and the SS3 to resume at both boarding and day schools as soon as possible for intensive revision exercises.
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.