Medical expert recommends staggered attendance, trainings, as schools reopen

 A medical expert, Dr Segun Ebitanmi, has advised school owners to consider a staggered attendance strategy to manage space and reduce number of people in their facilities as schools reopen on Sept. 21.

Ebitanmi gave the advice at a training organised by the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Amuwo Odofin chapter, on Thursday in Lagos.

Supreme reports that the training tagged: “School Reopening Training for School Proprietors’’ was aimed at sensitising school owners on current trends in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

Ebitanmi, also the Chief Operating Officer at Outreach Group, said studies had shown that a significant amount of a child’s learning was lost when they return to school, after spending some time at home.

He said that children spent most of their time in school, and if not managed properly, their chances at securing good health would reduce.

According to him, having a reopening process that is safe is not just important for children, but for the whole community.

He advised that in addition to observing the COVID-19 guidelines against the spread of the virus, the proprietors should consider adjusting some of the schools’ policies to accommodate new trends.

Ebitanmi said: “The way the school is run must take cognisance of the risks being faced. You can use open areas for teaching some classes.

“You must have e-learning that you can use to make up for students who missed school when they are ill.

“Another is the staggered attendance. Different classes can come to school on different days.

“Discourage sports like football that allow children to come in close contact with each other; sports like tennis should be encouraged.”

He said that teachers must be trained on what to do, while a registered nurse should be stationed at the school’s isolation room to manage situations when anyone falls sick while in school.

Ebitanmi also urged the proprietors to relax the rules on absenteeism to ensure that teachers don’t come to school, if they are sick.

He further urged schools owners to ensure that they communicate the new changes to parents and guardians to be able to achieve their goals.

Reacting, the Auditor-General of NAPPS, Lagos, Dr Tolu Sodimu, said schools with large populations and limited space will have to consider the staggered attendance method to be able to meet the guidelines recommended for reopening.

“Some schools don’t have a large population and can accommodate students coming in at the same time.

“However, for schools with a large population of students, to ensure that the one to two metres spacing is observed, obviously it will mean fewer students in each class.

“They can do either three days a week for some particular classes, two days a week, maybe for the lower primary classes.

“They can actually have half days, maybe 8.00a.m to 12.00p.m, then another set comes in from 12.00p.m to 4.00p.m.

“It depends on each school, but it is definitely possible”.

Sodimu said that teachers who don’t have classes on particular days should stay at home to reduce the number of people in the school.

She further advised that teachers and students who are sick should be allowed to stay at home until they feel better.

Sodimu added that the Education Quality Assurance team of NAPPS had been working in partnership with the Lagos State Government to ensure the schools observe the guidelines.

“We’ve done an inspection of most of our schools and we are ready.

“We have fumigated our schools, we have washing stations and hand sanitisers strategically placed within our schools, we have signage and infrared thermometers to check temperatures,” she said.

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