By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
The Ogun State public school teachers have demanded provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), infrared thermometers, hand sanitizers, among other conditions for reopening of schools in the state.
The state chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Comrade Titilope Adebanjo who gave the conditions while speaking with journalists at the union’s secretariat in Abeokuta, insisted that the conditions must be met before schools can reopen in the state.
Other conditions given by the NUT are, disinfection of school premises, provision of running water, alcohol-based sanitizers, training of teachers on how to use the thermometers and standby health personnel within a one-kilometer radius of schools.
It would be recalled that the state governor, Dapo Abiodun had declared that religious centres and schools would remain shut for the next two weeks.
The governor, however, said a committee had been set up to engage all stakeholders and develop guidelines for a safe reopening of our schools, especially to allow certificate classes to resume and write their examinations.
The NUT chairman disclosed that the conditions are contained in a position paper presented to the government on how best to ensure safe reopening of schools without jeopardising the health of the students.
He dispelled the rumour making the round that public school teachers are not ready to resume work, insisting that, teachers are tired of staying at home and ready for school reopening.
Adebanjo said, “As a union, we know that we have a responsibility and this necessitated us to present a position paper to Ogun state government as we are looking forward for reopening of our schools.
“We hear some opinions somewhere that teachers in public schools are not ready to go back to work. We are saying emphatically that our teachers are ready to go back to work. In fact, we are tired of staying at home.
“The first on the list is to make sure that the government to fumigate every part of the school environment. And we put it to them also to make sure that they provide infrared thermometers to all our schools at least to get the temperature of our students.
“We put it across to them also to make sure that they train our teachers in line with the position of this COVID-19. The training of teachers is very, very important, so that when teachers are trained to use these thermometers they can also read them and even to observe a pupil or a student that is having issue medically or the other.
“Another thing is to make provision for portable water, running one for that matter available in all our schools, along with soaps and alcohol based sanitizers. All these must be on ground before schools are reopened.
“We also recommended to them that at least within a kilometer of a school, there must be a health personnel that in case if there is an emergency, we can easily report to them. We are teachers we are not doctors, we are not nurses. But the most important thing is make sure that PPE is readily available in our schools”, Adebanjo added.
The NUT chairman urged parents to provide face masks for their children before sending them to school, warning that no student would be allowed into school without using a face mask.
He expressed the optimism that schools would be reopened in the state before the next two week if the conditions are met.