The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has directed schools to carry out weekly risks assessment; this is in line with the need to ensure the safety of the students and teachers as the nation prepares for the re-opening of schools.
Mrs. Elsie Ilori, the Head, Department of Surveillance and Epidemiology, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control stated this during the joint PTF briefing on COVID-19 which held yesterday in Abuja.
It was also directed that local governments are to conduct monthly and quarterly risk assessments. According to her, the PTF is doing its best possible to educate the public on measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
Mrs. Ilori asserted that the PTF has reviewed the situation in other countries that have re-opened schools. More so, it has received guidance from the World Health Organization and other public health authorities. To this end, if schools carefully coordinate, plan, and put the required safety measures in place before reopening, there will be lesser risk of COVID-19 cases in school settings.
Her words: “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 has mandated schools to conduct periodic (weekly) risk assessments, while states and local governments are to conduct monthly and quarterly risk assessment respectively. This will help to promptly address the gaps that may exist in reducing the risk of COVID-19 spread in schools.
Beyond this, local governments have been advised to set up multi-sectoral school health committees dedicated to supporting and monitoring the implementation of safety protocols in the schools’’.
Furthermore, she emphasized the fact that safe school re-opening requires the collective efforts of everybody, including parents, teachers, school authorities, communities, civil society organizations, and the media.
Conversely, the PTF warned school management against conducting tests for returning students. This is given the fact that the focus should be on monitoring and careful observation of students with all non-pharmaceutical measures in place.
On his part, Dr. Sani Aliyu, the PTF Coordinator explicated that it would be an unnecessary burden on the parents to conduct such test since the result is only good as when it is done. Moreover, anyone could contact COVID-19 after the test if proper non-pharmaceutical measures are not observed.