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Reopening schools not safe for pupils, citizens – Oyo NMA

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NIGERIAN Medical Association (NMA) has advised the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force to reconsider its plans to reopen schools and worship centres in the state.

  According to the NMA in a statement jointly signed by its Oyo State Chairman, Dr Akinloye Sodipo, and Secretary, Dr. Okuwaseun Adebayo, and made available to journalists in Ibadan, the body opined that the present coronavirus pandemic situation appears to be on the increase in the state.

  NMA observed that with the COVID -19 situation in Nigeria and Oyo State in particular, reopening of schools and worship centres may not be safe for the school pupils and indeed, citizens of the state.

“We however, received unexpectedly the announcement of the task force that pupils in Primary 6, JSS3 and SSS3 would be returning to school on the 29th of June, 2020, and that religious centres would be opening to 25 per cent capacity. The NMA, being a critical stakeholder in the war against the pandemic has been following closely the progression of the disease and its attendant morbidities and mortalities within the state and the country at large and can conveniently say from statistics at hand, these decisions, although with good intentions, may not be a safe one for the school pupils and indeed citizens of the state at large at this time that the disease appears to be on the increase”, it said.

NMA added, “We believe in the intention of this administration in curbing the impact of this disease and her desire to return our socials, education and economic lives to normal as soon as possible but more importantly, we know that if we join forces in making those important decisions, we will surely emerge victorious very soon”.

They appealed to Governor Seyi Makinde to reconsider the decision to reopen schools and religious centers for the time being.

The association commended efforts of the Oyo State COVID 19 Task Force under the leadership of Gov Seyi Makinde on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that, the efforts of the Executive Governor and his team have in no small measures impaired on the control of the disease within the state.

“The Nigerian Medical Association, Oyo State branch wishes to commend the efforts of the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force ably led by His Excellency, Governor Oluwaseyi Makinde. The efforts of the Executive Governor and his team have in no small measures imparted on the control of the disease within the state. We also wish to commend the governor for always listening to the yearnings of the people of the state and responding appropriately to make sure life is bearable for everyone in the state

In a similar development, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Oyo State Chapter, has advised Oyo State Governor, Mr Seyi Makinde to review the idea of reopening schools in the state, saying the idea is counter productive.

This was contained in a release signed by the chairman, Prince Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye, which was issued out on Sunday.

 He said reopening of schools might be the wish of many parents, guardians, teachers and students because of the long closure and academic time loss due to the outbreak of COVID-19, but it said safety of the pupils should be of utmost importance now.

“The long closure of schools and academic time loss could have been a reason the governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, was eager to reopen schools, especially for primary six, JSS3 and SS3 students on June 29, 2020, for them to prepare for their examinations.

“On the face of it, the governor’s action looks good and responsive to the people’s wish and anxiety. But we hasten to add that wishes and anxiety need to be measured carefully against coordinated verifiable medical and scientific deductions on public health emergency like in the case of COVID-19 pandemic, with its uncertainty, and projection at finding a cure for the global disease.

“As the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has severally declared, the nation is yet to flatten the curve and we are now at the increasing stage of community transmission of the disease,” he said.

According to him, “taking the risk of school reopening without 100 per cent (not less because they are young) medical assurance of protection and safety of lives of our pupils may be counter productive.”

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