Resumption: Unity schools’ Principals in Lagos assure parents, guardians of students’ safety

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By Chinyere Nwachukwu
Lagos, Aug. 4, 2020 The Principals of King’s College, Lagos, Mr Andrew Agada, and Queen’s College, Lagos, Dr Tokunbo Yakubu-Oyinloye, have assured parents and guardians of safety of their children and wards as they resumed.

Agada and Yakubu-Oyinloye gave the assurance in separate interviews with Newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos, on the resumption of schools by the exiting students of the 104 Unity Colleges across the country.

The students were resuming to write their examinations after a long break due to the lockdown and closure of schools following the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.

NAN also reports that the schools had been shut following the directive from the Federal Ministry of Education since March, as a result of the ravaging pandemic.

The Federal Government after due consultations with other key stakeholders, agreed to reopen the schools only for the existing classes of the Senior Secondary School 3 and the Junior Secondary School 3.

This is to allow the SSS 3 students to participate in the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Agada said: “First and foremost, I want to thank God for sparing our lives, the children, our parents and all other stakeholders. We have also been looking forward to receiving them.

”I also want to seize this opportunity to thank the Federal Ministry of Education for the assistance rendered so far in order to make this resumption possible.

”Yesterday, the entire college was decontaminated, ranging from the classrooms, hostels the laboratories, everywhere, by the Federal Ministry of the Environment.

”We want to assure our parents that there is no need to panic, as our lives are in God’s hands but we will do our best and God will continue to protect us.”

According to him, the college has set up a committee called the “COVID-19 Guidelines Enforcement Committee”.

He said that the committee was made up of dedicated teachers that would be going round during the classes, the dinning halls and hostels to ensure that the students maintain the safety protocols.

Agada added that already, messages had also been sent to the parents and guardians to also advice their children and wards against any form of gatherings or contact activities such as playing of football or games that would bring them together.

“They have come, let them concentrate on their examination as there is barely no time left, and so, we have put a committee in place whose responsibility is also to monitor the students.

”By tomorrow, full lecture will commence. We are fully prepared. The timetable is out and the teachers are very ready more than ever before to hit the ground running,” he said.

On the part of the management, the principal said that they have also put certain things in place.
“First, since it is only the SS3 students that are coming back, we have prepared hostels and spread them to all the hostels that hitherto, accommodated SS1, 2, 3 in the college.

”So, currently, we are not having more than 12 students in a room.

“Secondly, on the issue of classrooms, we have 30 of it at our main campus here, for the senior school.

“The SS3 students are coming in soon and these ones will be occupying 19 classrooms at the JSS section of the college, as against the 10 they used to occupy before now.

”All these are means of ensuring strict adherence to social distancing and also we have sanitisers, even customised ones, that is the pedal one.

“And graciously, where we procured some of these equipment from, the company is also coming in to assist us by giving us automated dispensers, like you see at the airports and other places,” Agada said.

He added that the college would also be mounting about 15 of such at the main campus and another 15 at the annex for the Junior Secondary School.

”We have also worked on our water, as we recently dug another borehole to expand our water reticulation system.

“The hostels too, we have worked on the hostels, the bunks, the broken down ones have been repaired, the classroom desks, we have also refurbished them.

”So, as the students are coming, we are sure that there is enough desks, bunks, space and water and all other necessary facilities that would ensure their safety and comfort.

“They have come, let them concentrate on their examination as there is barely no time left and so we have put a committee in place whose responsibility is also to monitor the students.

“Again, another measure we adopted to reduce the crowd is to allow the borders in two houses, to be checked in first. We have four houses. By tomorrow borders in the other two remaining houses will be checked in,” he said.

The principal added that for now, only the borders were being checked in.

He said parents of some day students were also applying to be accommodated as boarding students.

The principal cited difficulty of accessing the roads to the college, following the closure of the 3rd Mainland bridge as a huge challenge.

”We have considered them, because we have the space.

”Our advice, therefore, to our parents is to remain hopeful and assuring that God who has kept us all these while, is still fully in control, and we must look unto Him and have faith in Him.

”It is our prayer too that our students will all finish their examination successfully in good state of health and will all return home to their parents safely,” he prayed.

Also, at the Queen’s College, Lagos, its Principal, Dr Tokumbo Yakubu-Oyinloye, took NAN Correspondent round the college premises.

Yakubu-Oyinloye said: “We have put all the guidelines and protocols in place to ensure that our students are safe when they resume and all through the period of their stay here.

“You can see the sitting arrangements in our classes. We do not have more than 20 students per class with their seats placed two metres apart from each other.

“Names of students per class have been pasted by the entrance of each of the respective classes.

”We have also fixed automated hand sanitisers in all the classes, including the foot pedal sanitiser at the gate.”

According to her, instead of using the 12 classes that were designated before now for SS3 students, 34 more classrooms, including those for the SS1 and SS2 have now been converted for tluse of SS3 students to ensure social distancing.

Yakubu-Oyinloye added that the same measures also applied to the hostels.

The principal said that the school management, in collaboration with the PTA had fumigated the hostels and all other sections of the college.

She said that already, the Federal Ministry of Education, also in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of the Environment, had decontaminated and disinfected the entire college.

”We have also serviced our water treatment plant as well as wash our tanks. In addition to keeping social distancing, we will also be staggering our break periods as well as our meal time.

”We have also designated a building as an isolation centre in the college, should there be any case of high temperature, before contacting the appropriate authorities.

“On the part of the teachers, they have been fully sensitised and equipped.

“In fact, teachers who will have no business on campus are not allowed to come around. They can do their jobs at home.

“In the same vein, all returning SS3 students must also come with at least five masks and must wear their masks before they can be checked in.

“They must also ensure that they come with their personal effects including cutleries as sharing is not allowed,” Yakubu-Oyinloye said.

The principal commended a set of the Old Girls of the college for donating 68 white boards for each of the classrooms in the college, adding that already another set of the old girls are set to donate four interactive boards to facilitate teaching and learning.

She pleaded with parents to impress it on their children and wards to ensure that they always adhere strictly to the safety guidelines.

NAN reports that the resumption of the JSS 3 students of the Unity Colleges in the state had been moved to Aug. 10.

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