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FG orders schools to conduct weekly COVID-19 assessment


Every state will have its share of the Covid-19 pandemic- NCDC boss warns

The Federal Government has released more guidelines that will  prevent the spread of COVID-19 as  more states fully reopen schools  on Monday.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, which disclosed this to The PUNCH on Thursday,  stated that  schools had been directed to conduct COVID-19 risk assessment every week.

The NCDC also disclosed that  local governments and states  were  directed to conduct monthly and quarterly COVID-19 risk assessment in schools respectively.

The NCDC  Director General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu,  stated these in an electronic mail sent to one of our correspondents in response to enquiries.

According to the NCDC, the assessment will determine schools’ level of compliance with safety protocols including physical distancing, hand-washing and the use of face masks, whose violation can put students at risk of COVID-19.

Also on Thursday, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 said the Federal Government would seize passports of travellers who failed to carry out COVID-19 test. It added that visas of foreign travellers would be cancelled.

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Schools across the country were shut in March 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.

At its press conference on September 3, the PTF recommended  phased reopening of schools.

Following the PTF’s recommendation, states that have   announced dates for reopening  of their schools include Ogun, Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, Ekiti, Delta and Kogi. States where schools are resuming on Monday include Lagos, Ekiti , Osun and Ogun.

Aliyu also said it was unnecessary to subject resuming students to the coronavirus test.

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He said it would amount to an unnecessary financial burden on parents to ask students to provide COVID-19 test as condition for resuming schools.

He said what was more important was for schools to enforce compliance with the non-pharmaceutical measures and be vigilant in monitoring children and quickly isolating the them on showing the first suspected sign of COVID.

He said, “If you do a PCR test today, the greatest value it has is if it is positive. If it is negative, that negative result applies to the time the sample was taken. Beyond that, 48, 72 hours three days, four days, you are tested, you can still come up with a positive result.

“So when it comes to students in schools, we encourage schools to be vigilant to make sure they monitor children that are sick, check temperature, to make sure they have access to hand-washing facilities, in terms of non-pharmaceutical interventions, and to have a very low threshold for making sure that a child is excluded at the first sign that they might have COVID.

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“In general children do not present symptoms, but they may still have respiratory symptoms. Even  in the absence of COVID, a child having a rashes, having  diarrhoea or having a cough, ideally should be excluded from school if he is unwell, so that other children do not catch the diseases.

“These are sensitive precautions that we will urge schools to take. It will be an  unnecessary burden on parents, to be honest, for students to be tested for COVID by PCR or whatever because, it has value only for that material time.”