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School resumption: PTF asks states to learn from Germany, US, others

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, on Monday, urged state governments to make preparations for the reopening of schools to be guided by the experience of countries where the opening of schools led to a rise in confirmed cases of the virus.

The Chairman of the task force, Boss Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, stated this at the committee’s press briefing in Abuja.

Mustapha listed the affected countries to include Germany, France, United States of America and the United Kingdom.

He said the task force would be submitting its seventh interim report to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), during the week, while decisions reached on the next phase of the lockdown would be made public during the next briefing on Thursday.

He said, “As we plan to re-open more sectors, we must stay the course and stick with our winning strategy which is anchored on the ability of our health institutions to contain the virus while we as citizens wear our masks properly, stay away from crowded places, avoid mass gatherings, maintain simple hygienic practices and as much as possible protect the elderly and most vulnerable to this pandemic.

“It is in the above context that the PTF appreciates the ongoing calls for re-opening of the education sector and indeed some sub-nationals are already making preparations for such.

 “Whilst the PTF does not discourage making such preparations, we need to be guided by experiences from countries such as Germany, France, the United States and the UK where opening of schools in some cities led to an increase in confirmed cases and fatalities.

“As we end this phase, the PTF would be submitting the seventh interim report to Mr. President and would be guided by his directives on the next phase.”

“The decisions and approval would be transmitted at the national briefing on Thursday, September 3, 2020.”

While answering a question of the possible reopening of schools, the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said the discussion was still ongoing.

He said, “We have received feedback from all universities on their states of preparedness. These are being tabled before the PTF.”

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