By Anietie Akpan, Guardian Newspaper
All public schools in Cross River State will resume June 16 as the State Government plans a special protective measures for children and others.
So far the State remains the only State in the county without the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and poised to maintain that standard, the State Government is braising the trail again as it has commenced the mass production of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for trial resumption of public schools.
The State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade announced this in a statement made available to some newsmen in Calabar yesterday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Christian Ita as he (Ayade) unveiled the PPE made at the State owned garment factory.
The protective gears, which include face shields and PPE overalls, according to Ayade will be deployed to schools free of charge for the use of students and medical personnel in the State.
Ayade said, “perhaps, we have to adopt a new lifestyle that will integrate coronavirus as part of our lifestyle. And so for Cross River State, we have a strong commitment that our children cannot continue to stay at home, the more they stay, the more the moral decadence, the more indiscipline, the more they become lazy of getting back to school and getting started because for every stage in life there is time where you have to be in class and once the children miss that delicate phase, it becomes very difficult.
“I think it is wise for the kids to go back to school and I have seen this happen in China where kids are back to schools with their nosemasks and shields. So you wear your nose mask and you wear your face shield when you get to school you drop the mask and wear only your shield to allow for more ventilation and more breathing.
“We believe it is time for the Federal Government to also show love and support to Cross River State. We have always led from the front and we think the mass production of PPE is an added advantage for which all health practitioners from nurses to radiographers must be equipped with PPE for them to work.
“Because we care, we want to support our public schools with free distribution of PPE. But our PPE for schools is limited only to the nose masks and face shield. But for the health workers in Cross River State, they will be provided at no cost because the Government has to borne the cost.
“We have invested massively in the mass production of nose mask and face masks but in the course of time, it became obvious that the PPE is even far more critical because we realize that without the PPE our health workers, our front line workers are at risk and so there is a need for the production of PPE.
“Recently, Doctors in Nigeria issued strike notice and their major reason was that their colleagues are dying in their numbers occasioned by the lack of PPE as they have direct contact with patients with confirmed cases”.
In view of this, he said “Cross River State had to invest seriously into the production of PPE. And we have gone out of our way to get the best quality of materials and brought in people who specialize in mass production from India. They are here with us today and they’ are working very hard producing thousands of face shields. These face shields will be the first and major shield production here in Nigeria”.
The Governor used the occasion to appeal for Federal Government for patronage, saying that the production of the protective gear was part of his administration’s effort to fight the global pandemic.
He said, “I think that the Federal Government will be excited to encourage the resumption of schools because obviously the coronavirus has come to stay with us and the reality is that countries that have attempted to resume schools have had to contend with the increase prevalence of the virus but obviously how long can we wait as a country?”
On his part, the State Commissioner for Education, Mr. Godwin Amanke said a trial resumption of schools will commence on June 16th of June, 2020 and “students will wear face masks and face shield to school. Once at the school gate the children will wash their hands and legs. Hand sanitizers will also be used. When the children enter the class room, they will remove the face mask and use only the face shield so as to get enough ventilation.
“Upon closure, they will wear back their masks and wear the shields and go back home. Teachers will wear same and under go the same coronavirus protocols in the class room.”
If this special strategy works, the State will be the first State in the county to resume since the pandemic and forced closure of schools in March.
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