COVID-19 Protocols: Compliance impressive in Northwest private schools

Most private schools in states within the Northwest geopolitical zone have ensured full compliance with COVID -19 Protocols as their institutions commence academic session.

Checks by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna, Sokoto, Kebbi, Sokoto and Katsina states, indicated that management of such schools had provided sanitizers, thermometers and hand-wash basins in compliance with directives of health officials.

Investigations also showed that use of Face masks had been made compulsory for pupils and visiting parents, just as physical distancing is being applied as much as practically possible.

Checks however revealed that compliance with same in public schools is not complete due to dearth of facilities, occasioned by the boost in population of pupils and students.

NAN Correspondent who monitored the situation in Kaduna, reports that while most private schools adhered to the Protocols, the situation in public schools lacks much to be desired.

A staff of one of the public schools visited who spoke to NAN on the issue, said students observed the guidelines before schools were shut down, but upon resumption, the situation changed.

“We find it difficult to enforce wearing of masks because the students are very many,” said the staff, who did not want her name mentioned.

On her part, Mrs. Comfort Noah, Principal of His Grace Universal, a private school, said they provided thermometers for checking temperature, hand sanitizers and liquid soap at school entrance.

“We ensure students and parents appear with their masks; we also try our possible best to observe social distancing in classrooms because our number is not very high” she said.

Noah explained that the only challenge they were facing was from visitors and some parents, who sometimes tried to violate the rules to the extent of exchanging words with security personnel.

“If we talk to them about face mask, some respond with anger, demanding to know if they looked like COVID-19 patients,” she said.

Most private schools visited had hand wash facilities, liquid soap, sanitizer and thermometer, among other facilities, while a few public schools had same.

In Kebbi, the State Ministry of Education, in collaboration with that of Health, procured and distributed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to schools across the state.

However, investigations indicated that most of these equipment were not in use, as they had either been vandalized, or allowed to waste.

Principals and staff of the schools visited declined comment on the matter when NAN sought for their reactions.

However, NAN Correspondents who visited some public and private schools within Kano metropolitan area, report that school authorities provided enough facilities, which included soap, water and hand sanitizers , among others.

NAN also observed that majority of the students and teachers wore face masks.

The schools visited included Almubarak Comprehensive College, Al-Azhar School, Bayero University Kano Staff School, Model Secondary School, and Rimin Gata Special Primary School, all in Kano.

The Principal, Almubarak Comprehensive College, Kano, Mr Abdulganiyu Alaba, told NAN that before re-opening, schools were fumigated to ensure safety of students, teachers and other staff.

“We adhere to COVID-19 guidelines by providing thermometers at the school entrance, and made wearing of face mask compulsory for both students and teachers,” he said. .

Also, Mrs Feyisayo Tarosi, the Proprietess of Rolly Best International School, Kano, said her school provided enough hand washing facilities, hand sanitizers and face masks.

“Even before the advent of COVID-19, we had been providing buckets with water and soap in our school premises.

“We have made it mandatory for students to wear face masks before entering the school because the health of every child is very important to us”, she said.

On its part, Kano State Ministry of Education said it took proactive measures to ensure safety of students, pupils and teachers in schools across the state.

The Chief Public Relations Officer of the ministry, Mr Aliyu Yusuf, told NAN that government provided thermometers for measuring temperature of students and teachers.

Yusuf further revealed that it provided hand sanitizers and hand washing facilities for regular hand washing, as well as distributed face masks to students.

Also in Sokoto State, Public Relations Officer of Sokoto State Ministry of Education, said both private and public schools were equipped with hand washing facilities.

”Our concern is the safety of students and staff; schools were fumigated, hand sanitisers and face masks were provided, just as we ensured regular hand washing,” he said.

He added that measures were also taken to ensure that students maintained social distancing in classrooms during lessons, adding that shifts were introduced in over-populated schools.

According to him, severe warning has been issued to management of schools that violation of COVID-19 Protocols will be viewed seriously.

NAN checks however revealed that private schools observed safety protocols more than public schools.

Mr Ocheje Emmanuel, Head Teacher of Caliphate International School in Sokoto, told NAN that proprietors of private schools had tasked teachers to monitor compliance among students.

Some students, Hassan Lawalli, Ilyasu Aminu and Bashar Haruna, told NAN that they wore face masks but were not subjected to washing hands as the facilities were grossly inadequate to cater for the population of students .

In Katsina, the Public Relations Officer of the State’s Ministry of Education, Malam Sani Danjuma, said that there was full compliance with COVID-19 protocols in all schools in the state.

However, staff of a private school in Katsina who did not want his name mentioned, told NAN that there was no strict observance of the rules.

“Honesty speaking, I can tell you we are not observing the rules, except when our pupils are attending a formal activity, like sitting for exams such as Common Entrance Examination,” he said.(NAN)

Monday Ashibogwu

Monday Michaels Ashibogwu is Editor-In-Chief of QUICK NEWS AFRICA, one of Nigeria's leading online news service.

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