Dr. Sani Aliyu, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, on Thursday said that the PTF had recommended the phased reopening of schools.
The recommendation is part of the third phase of the eased lockdown.
Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Chairman of the COVID-19 PTF, had announced that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the third phase of the eased lockdown for a period of 4 weeks.
“The PTF believes that while Nigeria is not ready for a full re-opening of the economy, there has been sufficient progress to warrant significant further relaxation of the restrictions applied.
“Accordingly, Mr President has considered and approved the following: transition into the third phase of the national response to COVID-19 for a period of four weeks with effect from 12.01am on Friday, September 4, 2020, in line with amendments to address economic, socio-political and health considerations reflected in the implementation guidelines,” the SGF said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Aliyu while speaking at the press briefing said; “for educational institutions, which include day care, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Educational institutions should begin the process of working towards potentially reopening within this phase,” Aliyu spoke at a press briefing held at the international wing of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja.
“However, we strongly recommend that states conduct risk assessment to ensure that all schools are at a level of compliance and create a monitoring mechanism to assess, create and monitor this level of preparedness.
“Meanwhile, all day cares and educational institutions are to remain closed to in-classes until this level of risk is assessed.
“And if there will be opening of schools, it must be staged and preferably carried out in phases to ensure that this does not pose a risk to the general public and in particular to vulnerable groups that might end up getting infected by students going back home,” Dr. Aliyu said.
Speaking further, he noted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must enforce the no-mask – no-voting policy during elections.
“For INEC, the PTF continues to work closely with INEC. We are pleased that the last elections that were conducted in Nasarawa State, I believe, were successful. We will continue to partner closely with INEC to ensure that the electoral process does not pose a risk to the spread of COVID-19.
“INEC will ensure compliance with the publicised policy on conducting safe elections in the context of COVID-19 in particular, the mandatory use of face mask – no-facemask-no-voting, provision of hand sanitizers at polling units, temperature checks at polling units and observation of physical distancing in all electoral activities.”
The PTF also asked the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to consolidate on safety measures currently in place “in preparation of the reopening orientation camps when educational institutions open.”
Also, the curfew period has been modified from 10pm to 4am to 12am to 4am. And the number of social gatherings allowed has be increased from 20 to 50.
Nightclubs and bars however remains closed the PTF National Coordinator said.
SGF Mustapha also noted the President Buhari extended the six-month mandate of the COVID-19 PTF which expires this month till the end of December.
He noted that there is progress in the development of COVID-19 vaccine, adding that a total of 173 candidate vaccines were under evaluation, 33 of which were under clinical evaluation, 8 in phase three trials and 143 vaccines candidate in pre-clinical evaluation.
Mustapha noted that the PTF on COVID-19 would continue to monitor developments.
Princess Ada is a Senior Content Creator and Head of Field Reporters at Naija Buzz News. She is a graduate of The Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa, Nasarawa State, where she studied Accounting before joining the media industry. She’s well experienced in Nigeria’s online media space. Ada previously worked as the Head of Business Operations at 1Push.Ng. She is a proud Igbo from Enugu State, South-East Nigeria.