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Schools’ resumption: Many JSS 3 girls got pregnant, married – Principal

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CONTRARY to expectations that students who have been at home for over five months following the lockdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic will be enthusiastic to start school again to complete the second term and the 2019/ 2020 academic session, not many students were seen in schools as at the first and second days of school resumption at Community Secondary School, Mgbakwu, Awka South LGA, Anambra State.

  Principal of the school, Nneka Nwangwu, who decried the situation while speaking to National Light reporter who visited the school on Monday stated:  “The JSS 3 students officially resumed today and I tell you, the turn-out is not encouraging at all. I expected a larger number of students in school today given the fact that the children have stayed at home for almost six months now. I thought that most of them would have been tired of staying at home by now. But the reverse is the case as just a handful of them resumed.  I tried to find out why some of my brightest students did not show up, and some of the reports I got shocked me to the marrows. Today, I got reports from reliable sources that some of the girls got pregnant during their stay at home, some of them got married, some of the boys are now learning trade while some are out there hustling, making some kind of money for themselves and their families. So, you see, most of them do not have the hope of coming back to school any time soon and that is one of the post COVID-19 challenges for education sector.

  “Again, this issue of whether parents would pay third term school fees, since it will last only for one month is a big controversy now because parents of most of our students are trooping in here every minute to enquire about the payment and most of them are insisting that their children and wards will not resume on Monday, of September 14, if they are expected to pay for the third term. They said it would be better for them to wait for the first term resumption so they can start afresh. So, I think it is high time the government cleared air on this issue to make this long awaited resumption easier for everyone”.

  On whether the school is still observing all the COVID-19 protocols, she said, “the school is absolutely observing the hygiene protocols. As you can see, the buckets with running taps positioned in the entrance of classes and offices. We also have infrared thermometer to take temperature of every one that come into the school compound. You can also see the “no masks no entrance” inscription at the gate, as such, every student and staff of this school come to school with their white facemasks on. Again, we used to have only three classes for the JSS 3, but now, we have six classes just to maintain the social distancing. We have our sick bay and an isolation centre ready should anyone be found to have abnormal temperature”.

  “You know this is a village school, as such; getting them to comply with the hygiene protocols had not been easy. So, we tried the option of using incentives to bend the norm and it had been working. I bought different items like exercise books, pen and key holders and at the end of every week, I reward students who are COVID-19 protocol compliant to encourage them the more, and this had been working perfectly for me”.

  In Community Secondary School, Isu-Aniocha, Lady Happiness Ikedimma, the principal of the school said, “a good number of our JSS 3 students resumed on Monday and more are still returning.

  On the school’s preparedness to accommodate all the staff and students, as schools are set to resume properly next week, she said, “we are 100% prepared. The government planned the resumption very well because the SSS3 students will finish their exams on Friday, which is 12th of September, and once they finish, they will vacate the halls for the JSS3 students who will now start their Junior WAEC examinations on the 17th of September. So, when they move into the halls, the classes will be enough for other students in other classes to spread. We have turned every available structure in this compound into classrooms and so, I believe that we now have enough classrooms”.

  Airing her own view as regards the general school resumption in the state for the third term of the 2019/2020 academic session, Mrs Elisabeth Onwurah, a mother of four said, “the government, school authorities are yet to tell us if we are to pay school fees for this third term that is supposed to be completed in one month. I have four kids and I can’t see myself paying these fees for them for a term that they were not taught. I would prefer them to wait and resume when the next term begins. But seriously, we are expecting that the government and school authorities should give this issue a human face. The country is just recovering from the hazards occasioned by the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic, and we all are still struggling to get back to our feet, so paying school fees for a term that is supposed to last for just a month would be quite difficult and many parents like myself would prefer skipping this third term. So, it will be a huge relief if this third term will be free.

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