1st August, 2020
Communique issued at the end of the Virtual Meeting of the Special Situation Room Engagement by The Lagos Civil Society Coalition Against Covid-19 facilitated by Centre For 21st Century Issues
- Lagos Civil Society Coalition Against COVID-19 held its Situation Room engagement virtual meeting with the theme: “Schools Resumption in the Face of increasing COVID-19 Infections in Nigeria” held on Tuesday, July 21, 2020.
- The webinar, which had over 50 participants drawn from government officials, civil society groups, school owners and community members. Some of the panelists at the webinar include: Director, Health Education Service of Primary Health Care Board, Mr. Orji Emmanuel; National President, Association of Formidable Education Development, AFED, Mrs. Owojuyigbe Modupe; Chairman of Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All Lagos, Ronke Kimemenihia; Mr. Odeyemi Richard, Chairman, Schools Management Committee, Kosofe LGA; and a member of the Coalition, Yusuf Kelani, moderated the session.
- The forum identified some challenges in key areas related to the resumption of schools in Lagos in the face of increasing cases of COVID-19 positive persons in the state, and advised the Lagos State Government and other stakeholders via wide ranging recommendations.
- a) The Lagos State Government should ensure that COVID-19 test should be conducted on the pupils and teachers to know their COVID-19 status in order to prevent spread of the infection among students/pupils.
- b) The announcement of the school resumption for students in exit classes is commendable, but that effort must be put in place to test all the returning students and teachers in Lagos before resumption as COVID-19 cases increases in the state.
- c) Lagos State remains the epicenter of COVID-19 in Nigeria as cases of infection increases in the state; the children should not be exposed to the pandemic because of its implication on their studies, families and future prospects.
- d) There is the need for collaborative effort between the school authorities and public health workers within the local governments for effective mobilization and response to cases of infections in the schools.
- e) Public enlightenment and campaign on prevention and control of COVID-19 by public health officials in local communities must include schools across Lagos State.
- f) Public health officials may not be enough to attend to all the schools at the same time, private schools should employ the services of medical personnel that will interface with the schools on a regular basic as the schools reopen.
- g) The life of every student in Lagos matters and every commitment on the part of the government and the school authorities must not be seen as being too expensive.
- h) Public and private schools should come up with specific reopening strategies in line with the state government protocols.
- i) Provision and arrangement should be made to disinfect tables, chairs, doors, and other surfaces on a regular basis throughout the duration of the exams of the students in exit classes.
- j) Low cost Private Schools who accounts for about 50% of all enrollments in primary and secondary schools in Lagos should be considered for special support and assistance by Government to disinfect their schools ahead of resumption
- k) Preparation and planning toward reopening of schools should include students with disability.
- l) Low cost schools and schools in hard to reach communities should come up with mechanism to make up for lost lessons especially for students in exit classes
- m) Private- and public-school authorities should fashion ways to cater for the mental health and psychosocial issues of students and teachers upon resumption.
- n) The Lagos State government should take urgent steps to engage the citizenry and all stakeholders in the education sector through a well-orchestrated sensitization and advocacy plan, that should include social marketing using both traditional media (print and electronic) and new media (social media). The engagement of socio-political, traditional, religious, and community leaders through its home-based care management team will be instituted to get the buy-in of all stakeholders and help the Lagos State Government flatten the curve.
- o) Thank you and God Bless.
Lagos Civil Society Coalition Against COVID-19
1st August, 2020.