The Federal Government on Monday has released more COVID-19 guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as more states fully reopen schools.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, which disclosed this on Thursday, stated that schools had been directed to conduct COVID-19 risk assessment every week disclosing that local governments and states were directed to conduct monthly and quarterly COVID-19 risk assessment in schools respectively.
NCDC revealed that the assessment will determine schools’ level of compliance with safety protocols including physical and social distancing, hand-washing and the use of face masks, whose violation can put students at risk of COVID-19.
In March, schools across the country were shut 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.
And on September 3, the PTF recommended phased reopening of schools.
States that have announced dates for reopening of their schools include Ogun, Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, Delta and Kogi States. States, where schools are resuming on Monday, include Lagos, Ekiti, Osun and Ogun, following the PTF’s recommendation.
The NCDC Director General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said 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.
Ihekweazu said, “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.”
He continued “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.” He added.
The NCDC spokesman Emeka Oguanuo, speaking on risk assessment, 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.” He stated.