The Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA), Lagos State Ministry of Education, has organised a two-day training for School Leaders and Educators on a sustainable approach to the safe reopening of Public and Private schools below tertiary level.
The programme tagged “Moving Forward: A Training For The Safe Reopening Of Lagos State Public And Private Schools”, is to encourage school leaders to have comprehensive operational, learning, quality health and safety as well as data and communication plans that will suffice for the safe reopening of schools in Lagos.
The Director-General, Office of Education Quality Assurance, Mrs. Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, in her address at the event, urged school leaders to have a qualitative safety plan that will help protect students, teachers and workers as schools reopen in the State.
“It is not enough to reopen but to remain open since some schools across the world had to shut down after reopening due to a spike in the pandemic. All schools must make efforts to comply with these requirements, not just for the improvement of the overall school operations but for safe reopening for academic activities to support the Lagos State Government’s quest for a full return”, Mrs. Seriki-Ayeni said.
While advising schools to have flexible teaching and learning plans, where students and teachers, who feel sick can teach or learn from home via an online platform, the Director-General maintained that schools must be willing and ready to close or shut down briefly should there be a case of COVID-19 occurrence in the school premises.
The Infection Prevention Control Team Leader in Lagos State, Dr. Adefolarin Opawoye, in his lecture titled “COVID-19 & the Education Sector”, explained that COVID-19 can only be transmitted by droplets, hence the emphasis on the proper use of face masks and advise against a sitting arrangement where students or pupils sit facing each other.
He reiterated that the sure way to prevent COVID-19 is by maintaining physical distancing, in addition to other safety protocols, since droplets cannot travel in the air for a distance of more than two meters.
Dr. Opawoye advised schools to be careful because the State cannot afford to be careless at this time when the pandemic is at a flat curve in the community transmission stage, emphasising that any carefree act could negate efforts made so far to avoid a spike.
He stated that schools must have an isolation/holding bay to care for medical emergencies should students come up with symptoms such as cough, headache, catarrh, difficulty in breathing, sneezing and fever.
Mrs. Olanrewaju Oniyitan, the Chief Executive Officer, W-Holistic Business Solutions, in her lecture titled “School Reopening Process and Plans I & II” took the participants through steps that will ensure the receipt of a COVID-19 Safe to Learn Permit, which entails school and staff registration, getting a code to access an online training course and a clearance to reopen.
She explained that the self-assessment checklist in the course of registration is not to be submitted to the Office of Education Quality Assurance but to determine the level of preparedness as well as guide schools on what they need to put in place for a safe reopening.
Oniyitan implored the school leaders to ensure safe physical distancing while at school as well as embrace outdoor classes, staggered attendance, platooning or alternative attendance, among others, in collaboration with parents to adopt a safe, secure and convenient learning style.
She also harped on the importance of other safety plans like having the telephone numbers of parents in their database for unforeseen medical emergencies.