Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, said on Sunday, that state public schools would resume for academic activities on 8 October.
He said that the one week extension would be used to complete the distribution preventive materials against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, EVD to the schools.
The governor made the announcement at a meeting with teachers of public schools in the State at the LTV Blue Roof Hall, while stating that the 8 October date was arrived at because of the Eid-El-Fitri public holidays. He noted that it would not have been proper to break the school programme again soon after resumption.
Fashola said: “For the purpose of preparing the schools and tidying up loose ends and then instead of having the children resuming and then breaking up for Eid, let the Eid period run, then we start full blast. That is what I and my colleagues have worked on all night and that is what you are likely to see across the schools going forward.”
Addressing hundreds of teachers, including Principals, Vice-Principals, Tutors General, Head Teachers and their deputies as well as Executive members of the State’s Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers and other education stakeholders, he reiterated that the Ebola Virus Disease has been contained in the State and there was no need for anyone to fear.
The Governor, who identified with the anxiety of the teachers as genuine, however, said the state has reached the point where the Government must take a decision on when to open the schools. He added, “We can compare and contrast what is the experience in other states; those experiences can only guide us, they cannot bind us.”
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina, also assured the teachers that the Ebola Virus Disease had been finally contained and there was no case of the disease in the state, adding that necessary preventive materials against the disease had been sent to the Education District offices for distribution to the schools.
Such materials, she said, include drums of water with taps and buckets as well as liquid soap for hand washing, hand gloves, thermo-scans, sanitizers and so on, adding that if the fear was about contacting the disease in the schools, the teachers need not to entertain such fears.
Adeshina stated that the Ministry of Health had been engaged in training teachers from all Lagos schools to ensure that they have the right information about the disease, adding that within the period, Government officials have also been meeting with stakeholders as well as Contact Officers on Ebola in preparation for the resumption of the schools.
Assuring the teachers that those who have been trained, including the Contact Officers, know and have the information of what to do in the case of any suspected Ebola case, the Special Adviser told them, “Teachers please trust the Government that it will not want you to go back to school except that it has put necessary things in place to ensure your safety.”
The Chairman of the State Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, Adesegun Raheem, in his remarks, said that the teachers were only anxious to know when the preventive materials which Government promised would reach all the schools.
He added that the executive council of the union had scheduled a meeting to take a decision on the issue before the invitation of the Governor’s meeting came to them.
Expressing the readiness of the teachers to return to school, Mr Raheem said that even if it became necessary to shift the date in order to get the preventive materials across to all Lagos schools, the teachers would work to catch up on any lost academic time when the schools finally resume.