Ibadan (NAN) Many states across the South West Zone are putting in place new strategies to contain any outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in order to meet Monday’s resumption date announced by the Federal Government.
In Oyo State, the Commissioner for Education, Solomon Olaniyonu, said government and relevant stakeholders had put in place mechanisms to ensure that schools resume on Monday.
Olaniyonu told NAN in Ibadan that sensitization on the disease had been ongoing among the stakeholders.
“Oyo State schools will resume on Sept. 22 as promised because enough sensitisation campaigns has been going on the disease.
“We have been meeting with all stakeholders including principals, teachers and students,” he said.
Olaniyonu also said that his ministry met with the Board of Technical and Vocation Education and the All Nigerian Confederation of Secondary Schools Principals(ANCOPS).
The ministry, he added, had deployed top government officials to rural areas to sensitise residents on the disease before resumption of schools.
“If not for the fact that there is no proper demarcation of boundaries, there would have been no fear of Ebola in this state,” he said.
He said that the Federal Ministry of Education has requested for the number of schools so that the Federal Government could help out with the facilities needed to fight against Ebola.
Waheed Olojede, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in the state, however, told NAN that schools would not resume until adequate measures were in place.
“Until adequate measures are put in place by government to check the spread of the dreaded Ebola virus, no school will resume,” he said.
He said that apart from the sensitization exercise carried out by the Ministry of Education, no facility was in place in schools to prevent the spread of the disease.
Olufunmilayo Ojoawo, the President of the All Nigerian Confederation of Secondary Schools Principals (ANCOPSS) in the state, said the resumption date was a source of concern to the body.
She also said preventive kits were yet to be put in place in schools to check the disease.
“If an infected EVD child enters the school, it will just spread like wildfire and this will be very bad, ” she said.
In Ogun, the state government said it had trained no fewer than 12, 000 teachers to handle any possible outbreak of Ebola in schools, ahead of Monday’s resumption date.
The state Commissioner for Education, Segun Odubela, stated this in an in an interview with NAN.
Odubela said that the teachers were drawn from public and private primary and secondary schools in the state.
He added that an additional 3,000 teachers would be trained on Thursday.
The commissioner said that the training program was facilitated by the state Ministry of Health and some private medical practitioners in the state.
He added that the state had also procured preventive and protective gadgets like hand-gloves and sanitizers for use in the schools.
Odubela said that the state government was already liaising with the Federal Ministry of Education for the procurement of infra -red thermometers to check the temperature of students before resumption.
He explained that the government was also making efforts to ensure that there were clean toilets and running water in the schools.
Odubela said that a special desk had been created in the ministry with a dedicated line for issues relating to the disease.
Anthony Kansi, the Head teacher of Lawson International Private School, said government had put in place adequate measure to contain any outbreak.
“We are fully prepared for Monday’s resumption; all our students will be properly screened before resumption.
“Their temperature will also be checked to ensure that any case of exceptionally high temperature is reported to nearest hospital for prompt health care,’’ he said.
In Akure, Ondo State, NAN investigations revealed that teachers may resume for duty on Monday.
Solomon Igbelowowa, the Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Ondo State, said the state government had given an assurance that all necessary preventive measures would be in place before Monday.
Igbelowowa said the union had met with the government and was satisfied with the outcome of the meeting.
“Our position is clear. We want the government to assure us that the lives of our children are not endangered by taking precautionary measures against outbreak of the dreaded disease in our schools.
“The Ondo State Government has assured us that sensitisation and training of teachers on prevention and early detection of the virus would start on Thursday.
“However, I can assure you that teachers will not resume if government reneges on its promise.
“We have no problem with Sept. 22, we are only concerned with the wellbeing of our children,” he said.
Yunus Junaid, the proprietor of Main Minaret Group of Schools, Oba – Ile, Akure, said the school had appointed a desk officer saddled with the responsibility of sensitising the pupils on basic personal hygiene.
According to Junaid, the desk officer would monitor pupils’ health and report any unusual health development to the relevant health bodies.
The proprietor, however, expressed regret at the high cost of infrared thermometer.
He said that the school could only encourage regular hand washing with soap and water “since we have sanitisers in place and water is running in our school premises.’’
Similarly, Lanre Alajo, the Principal of Wexford College, Oba – Ile, Akure, said the school had complied with government’s directive to put in place all necessary facilities to check the Ebola Virus Disease.
“We place a high premium on the wellbeing of our pupils here.
“That is why we have engaged the service of qualified medical personnel to screen pupils, staff and visitors before they enter our premises,” Alajo said.
In Kwara, the state government said that it would soon commence training of teachers to contain the disease.
Alhaji Saka Onimago, the state Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, stated this in Ilorin.
He said all schools in the 16 local government areas would provide two teachers each to be trained on containing an outbreak.
The commissioner stated that the exercise would commence as soon as the Federal Ministry of Health and Education provided the necessary materials.
Onimago, however, said all public and private schools had been directed to resume on Monday for the First Term of the 2014/2015 academic session.
“All schools are also directed to provide basic hygiene materials such as soaps, washing bowl, towels and hand sanitizers for teachers and students,” he said.
In Osun, Lawrence Oyeniran, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, said government had met with stakeholders on how to contain the disease.
Oyeniran told NAN in Osogbo that the states government had ensured that teachers and health workers were given adequate training.
‘’Bearing in mind that children will be coming from different homes, it becomes important that teachers are given the basic knowledge on how to prevent the outbreak of the disease.
‘’Apart from updating them on basic health management issues, they will be refreshed on how to assist students to improve on personal hygiene.
“Two health workers will be on ground in each school, and for them to work effectively; we have bought hand thermometers for their use.
“These thermometers will be used to check the temperature of each student as they come into the school to ensure that anyone who has high temperature or signs of fever will be excused to receive medical attention before coming to school.
“We have met with the management of private schools, principals and health workers to sensitize them and encourage them to be up and doing in respect of the EVD.
“Parents bringing their wards to school will be rest assured that there will be no problem in terms of their children contacting the virus,’’ he said.
“ Training was held on Wednesday at Akinorun High School, Ikirun, Technical College, Osogbo and Baptist High School, Ede.
‘’There will be another training on Thursday at Oduduwa High School, Ile-Ife, Ilesa High School, Ilesa and Iwo Baptist High School, Iwo.
‘’On Friday, it will be the turn of teachers within Ife East Area office at Modakeke, High School in Ife East area of the State,’’ he added.
He enjoined parents not to leave the duties of ensuring hygiene to teachers alone as their wards often spend more time at home.
Some parents in Osogbo, however, expressed reservations at Monday’s resumption date for schools.
Some of them, who spoke to NAN, said that it was risky for students to resume when the disease had not been totally contained.
Anike Giwa said: “This is a matter that confuses me most times when I think about it. Should I say schools should not resume under the health situation we have in the country?
“Yet we have witnessed mass failure in some of our public examinations; if schools do not resume, how then are we guaranteed better performance in future examinations.
“Honestly, looking at it the other way, we are talking about students, especially the primary school pupils.
“Let us be sincere with ourselves, teachers cannot control the spread of such a disease.
“These children play a lot, you never can tell, if you contain them in the class, what about the toilets, playground or even other activities?
“These children do things together and we cannot stop them.
“Sincerely I am confused, I cannot keep my children at home but I am also scared to allow them to resume.’’
Another respondent, Suliat Mohammed said: “Even if schools do not resume in the next 10 years, will this stop the spread of EVD? This thing is not limited to schools alone, it is everywhere.
“Not allowing schools to resume in good time will only disrupt the normal school calendar and this is not good for our children.
“I am not happy about the health challenges we are facing as regards the EVD, in fact, I am scared but the only thing we can do is pray to God for protection.
“So the date of resumption declared by the government is not bad, we all have to take a risk because these children are doing nothing but play at home.’’
The Ekiti State Government, however, said schools would not resume until all precautionary measures had been taken.
The state’s Deputy Governor, Modupe Adelabu, told NAN that the state government would not unilaterally choose a resumption date for schools.
Adelabu, who is also the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, said a new date for resumption would be made public after a meeting with all stakeholders.
“There are critical stakeholders such as parents, Nigeria Union of Teachers, head teachers and medical personnel and their opinions have to be considered before taking a final decision,” she said.
Adelabu said a committee set up by the government had started making advocacy visits to create awareness on the disease while arrangement was being made to get necessary equipment.
She said stakeholders in the state would meet before Friday, after which a new resumption date would be announced.
Also speaking with NAN, the state Commissioner for Health, Olusola Fasuba, disclosed that government had procured 1,000 test kits for teachers and pupils in public schools.
He, however, said that owners of private schools would be made to procure their own kits.
The commissioner said 350 units of protective equipment as well infra red thermometers had also been procured.
The commissioner also said the state government was set to sponsor the training of 30 health workers on a “training the trainer’’ program.
The Chairman of the NUT in the state, Samuel Akosile, said teachers would not resume until all preventive measures were in place.
The state Chairman of the Academic Staff union of Secondary Schools, Sola Adigun, said the union was waiting for government to declare a resumption date.
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