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NMA, NUT blasts FG over order to reopen schools

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NMA, NUT blasts FG over order to reopen schools topnaija.ng

On Tuesday, the Nigerian Medical Association and the Nigeria Union of Teachers took a swipe at the Federal Government over its “safe reopening of schools”, TopNaija reports.

The apex organisations of medical doctors and teachers in the country told journalists that the directive that graduating classes should resume was not only badly thought-out, but also could expose both teachers and pupils to the deadly coronavirus.

The NMA President, Prof Innocent Ujah, who spoke to one of our correspondents in Jos, said that given the current low level of compliance by Nigerians with COVID-19 safety protocols, it was risky to ask pupils to resume.

The NUT General Secretary, Mike Ene, said government was playing politics with the directive. He wondered how teachers, who had not been paid salaries in some states, would get money to buy personal protective equipment.

Ujah and Ene spoke just as the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, on Tuesday became the latest prominent Nigerian to test positive for the virus.

Following the governor’s disclosure of his COVID-19 status, the state government ordered commissioners and other aides of Akeredolu to compulsorily go for the coronavirus test.

But as concerns mounted over the spread of COVID-19, the NMA faulted Monday’s pronouncement by the Federal Government on the reopening of schools.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, at its briefing in Abuja, said the government in what it called “safe reopening of schools,” had approved resumption of pupils in graduating classes including primary six, the Junior Secondary School 3 and the Senior Secondary School 3.

The government also lifted the ban it placed on interstate travels and domestic flights. In approving the resumption of graduating classes, it said water must be provided in schools for hand-washing and both pupils and teachers must wear face masks while observing social distancing.

Faulting the FG, the NMA president asked, “What is the compliance of the citizens in terms of regular hand-washing and other safety protocols? At the moment, many of the schools don’t even have water. Obviously, it becomes very difficult to say that schools should reopen because you have to wash your hands regularly.

“Again, I don’t know how the teachers would be teaching with face masks and all the pupils will wear face masks. If you are not used to face masks, you may not breath well, particularly if the one you have is not standard.”

He also said it would be difficult to observe social distancing in crowded classrooms. Ujah stated, “I believe the government should think about it. If they can stay a little, people have to be alive to go to school and the way things are happening, the compliance level is still very low. I don’t think it is appropriate to open the schools now.”

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