The Federal Government has released more guidelines that will prevent the spread of COVID – 19 as more states fully reopen schools on Monday.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control stated that schools had been directed to conduct COVID – 19 risk assessment every week.
The NCDC also disclosed that local governments and states were directed to conduct monthly and quarterly COVID – 19 risk assessment in schools respectively .
The NCDC Director General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu , stated these in an electronic mail sent to one of our correspondents in response to enquiries .
According to the NCDC , the assessment will determine schools ’ level of compliance with safety protocols including physical distancing , hand-washing and the use of face masks , whose violation can put students at risk of COVID -19.
Also on Thursday, the Presidential Task Force on COVID – 19 said the Federal Government would seize passports of travellers who failed to carry out COVID – 19 test. It added that visas of foreign travellers would be cancelled.
Schools across the country were shut in March as part of measures to check the spread of COVID – 19.
But the Senior Secondary School 3 students resumed on August 17 to write the West African Senior School Examinations .
At its press conference on September 3, the PTF recommended phased reopening of schools .
Following the PTF ’ s recommendation , states that have announced dates for reopening of their schools include Ogun , Lagos , Osun, Ekiti , Ekiti , Delta and Kogi . States where schools are resuming on Monday include Lagos , Ekiti , Osun and Ogun .
On Thursday , the NCDC DG told The PUNCH that part of its responsibility was to work with all relevant stakeholders to strengthen the country ’ s capacity for early detection and response to COVID – 19 cases .
He stated , “We have also continued to educate the public on measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID -19.
“We know that as the economy and society re -open gradually , we may record a spike in COVID – 19 cases . We have reviewed the situation in other countries that have re -opened schools as well as guidance from WHO , UNICEF and other public health authorities .
“There is lesser risk of COVID – 19 cases in school settings , if schools carefully coordinate , plan and put the required safety measures in place before reopening.
“We are working closely with the Federal Ministry of Education , PTF – COVID -19, states and our partners to ensure that the required safety measures are in place to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on our schools . ”
“The PTF – COVID – 19 and Federal Ministry of Education have mandated schools to conduct periodic ( weekly ) risk assessments. This is to review the gaps that may exist in reducing the risk of COVID – 19 spread in schools , and tailor interventions to address these gaps . Local governments areas and states are to conduct monthly and quarterly risk assessment respectively . ”
“In addition to this , schools are to set up school health teams including teachers and learners that would facilitate implementation of the safety protocols in schools . LGAs and States have been advised to set up multi – sectoral school health committees dedicated to supporting and monitoring the implementation of safety protocols in the school . ”
Speaking further on risk assessment , the NCDC spokesman Emeka Oguanuo , said it included , “the process of identifying and analysing potential gaps, threats that may cause a likelihood of COVID – 19 spread.
“Risk assessments in public health are also done to determine severity or degree of an outbreak . In this case , it is done to determine if school re-opening is safe and whenever a bridge in safety is observed , it can be addressed by relevant stakeholders. ”