By Elizabeth Osayande
Private Schools are ready and fully equipped for reopening with standard safety protocols in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus within the school premises, were the words of the national President,National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, NAPPS, Chief Yomi Otubela .
Otubela, had, at a Zoom meeting with journalists on Monday, July 13, 2020, appealed to the federal and state governments; the Ministry of Educationa; and the Hon. Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu to consider reopening of schools in order to avoid emotional trauma, financial loss and other antecedent challenges that led to suspension of the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC , National Examination Council, NECO, others.
According to him, Private Schools under NAPPS are ready to resume with strict adherence to the safety protocols as advised by the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC.)
He also said that standard safety protocols are in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, explaining that the schools are adequately prepared for resumption of classes for Junior Secondary Students (JSS3;), Senior Secondary Students (SS3), including those taking examinations such as WAEC and NECO among others.
“We also agreed with stakeholders for the phased reopening of schools for JSS3 and SSS3 students only with strict observance of the safety protocols within the school environment, in order to curtail the rising cases of Covid-19 pandemic in the country”, Otubale stated.
Also disclosing that the Board of Trustees and National Executive Council of NAPPS met earlier online to deliberate on school reopening for transitional classes schools for those taking WAEC, NECO and other examinations, Otubale, opined that reopening schools in phases, starting with JSS3 and more importantly SSS3 students, who will be sitting for their SSSCE conducted by WAEC, NECO, etc, is very necessary.
Also considering the emotional trauma that SSS3 students will be subjected to as a result of the cancellation of 2020 SSSCE, he advised that the federal government should deploy the services of Clinical Psychologists to evaluate the state of minds of the students when ready to sit for the examinations.
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This, he said is due to mental trauma that may arise as a result of the suspension of the examinations after rigorous preparations.
He however,applauded efforts by the Federal government to ensure a safe phased reopening of schools and the release of N2.3 trillion stimulus package to support teachers’ salary, including the CBN N5O billion single digits intervention loan to cushioning the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
Otubale, who also appealed against the use of schools for isolation centres and markets, said such practice will eventually compound the process of school reopening.