The federal government said Tuesday that it would not open schools in the face of growing cases of COVID-19 cases in order not to jeopardise the safety of pupils and students in the country.
This was disclosed by the Minister of State for Education, Mr Emeka Nwajiuba, during the daily briefing by the Presidential Task Force on Control of COVID-19 pandemic.
He said there is no date yet for the resumption of schools in the country.The minister also told journalists that the West African Examinations Council has not cancelled its external exams as students would still sit write exams.
“The President actually addressed the issue of the opening of the economy gradually. Until that is done, we can’t foresee or immediately tell you when all the schools will be reopened. It will not be proper for us to simply give you a date. It has to be in tandem with these opening terms.
“We don’t want to put our children at risk. None of these schools can function on their own without the society.
“On the question of children promoting to the next class, those exams will happen when we are satisfied that the children have learnt what is enough for them to move.
“For those who are in the exit classes of junior basic and senior secondary schools, we are preparing them and will continue to. This will go on until we are sure that they are equipped for the external examinations.
“The West African Examinations Council has not cancelled their external exams. It was postponed indefinitely. This indefinite nature is so that we can get a definite date. Students will still have to go and take those exams when we are sure that we have taken good care of the pupils,” he said.
Also speaking, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the 15-member medical team from China who recently completed their compulsory 14-day COVID-19 quarantine have all tested negative.
He said the Chinese medical experts would be providing technical support to Nigeria in its fight against COVID-19, and share experiential strategies on how China curtailed spread of the virus.
“As for the Chinese persons who came in, the test has been done after they were quarantined for 14 days. All of them were negative. After that, the Federal Ministry of Health is done with that particular case,” he said.
The minister said a Committee of Experts headed by Professor Oyewale Tomori, a renowned virologist, would be inaugurated soon.
“The Ministry of Health has up a Ministerial expert advisory committee, made up of eminent Nigerian virologists, public health experts, infectious disease and diagnostic experts and others, to study the evolution and development of the COVID-19 outbreak and the responses in Nigeria.
“The committee will advise on the national strategy and action plan, using lessons learned as we go along, and those learned from strategies in places across the globe. This will help us to identify and adopt the promising strategies and align our plans with best practices and advisories,” he said.