By Anietie Akpan, The Guardian
Following Federal Government’s directives, the Cross River State Government has shelved its plans of partial resumption of schools in the state on Monday, June 16, 2020.
Governor Ben Ayade and Commissioner for Education, Godwin Amanke had last week announced that experimental resumption of schools would commence on June 16 and students’ protective gears, including face shields and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) overalls, would be deployed to schools free of charge for students, as they resume academic activities.
The State had scheduled the West African Peoples Institute (WAPI), Government Secondary School, Ikom and Government Secondary School, Igoli, Ogoja for reopening, but principals of the schools asked the students who resumed to go back home, as only SS1 to SS3 students were scheduled to resume.
As at 7am, a large number of students had resumed at WAPI after the State Government distributed face masks and shields to a few of the students, while others had to use their own devices or handkerchiefs, but the classrooms were not opened.
The Guardian learnt that at Ikom and Ogoja, nothing was distributed to the students, just as it was observed that unlike the normal COVID-19 protocol or requirements, none of the schools scheduled for reopening was fumigated.
However, the State Government had promised that with the engagement of Indians, there would be massive production and distribution of PPEs to schools for free.
Amanke declined comments on the shelved resumption, but a senior government official said, “The face masks and shields will be distributed in phases and there is need to fumigate the schools before they resume. We are doing it in phases and we asked the students to go back home until they hear from us.”
Some of the students at WAPI said they were frustrated, adding, “We don’t have COVID-19 in Cross River, so Government should ensure that we resume school.”
Besides, the State Chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in a statement raised concerns over increasing malaria cases in Calabar, saying, “The increasing report of flu-like symptoms, respiratory disorders and loss of smell and taste in various hospitals is an indication of potential community transmission of an undetected disease in the mode of COVID-19.”
The statement issued by the State Chairman of NMA, Dr. Agam E. Ayuk and Secretary, Dr. Ezoke Epoke, noted that State Government’s directive on the trial resumption of three public schools in each of the senatorial districts of the State should be put on hold.
“The malaria cases are alarming and to the medical community, there is no evidence to ascertain the COVID-19 status and disease burden in the State due to the low number of tests being carried out,” it stated.
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