The Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA), Lagos State Ministry of Education organized a 2-day training for School Leaders and Educators on sustainable approach to safe reopening of Public and Private schools below tertiary level in the state.
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 and learning plans, quality health and safety plans and data and communication plans that will suffice for the safe reopening of schools in the state.
The Director-General, Office of Education Quality Assurance, Mrs Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, in her address, urged school leaders to have a qualitative safety plan that will help protect students, teachers and workers as schools reopen in the state.
According to her “it is not enough to reopen but to keep staying opened since some schools all over 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 quest for a full return”. While advising schools to have a flexible teaching and learning plans where students and teachers who feel sick can teach or learn from home via any online platform, Mrs. Seriki-Ayeni said 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 Lead, Lagos State EOC for COVID-19 response, Dr. Adefolarin Opawoye, in his lecture titled “COVID-19 & the Education Sector” explained that COVID-19 can only be transmitted by droplet hence the emphasis on the proper use of face mask thereby dissuading schools from a sitting arrangement where students or pupils sit facing each other. He added that the sure way to prevent COVID-19 is by maintaining physical distancing in addition to other safety protocols since droplets cannot travel in air for a distance more than 2 meters.
Dr. Opawoye advised schools to be careful, adding that the state cannot afford to be careless at this time when the pandemic is at a flat curve in community transmission stage because any carefree act could negate efforts so far made in the case of a spike. He emphasized 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 to have 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.
Mrs. Oniyitan added 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. She implored 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 consider a safe, secure and convenient learning style. She further emphasized on the Importance of other safety plans like having emergency numbers from parents in their database for unforeseen medical emergencies.
Head, Public Affairs