The Ogun State Government has clarified it position on the COVID-19 testing for students in exam classes returning to school ahead of their terminal exams.
According to a statement issued on Sunday by the Special Adviser to the State Governor on Basic and Secondary Education, Mrs Ronke Soyombo, the presentation of a COVID-19 free certificate by SS3 students will form a major prerequisite for allowing them into boarding schools across the state, as those schools are expected to be reopened from Monday.
The statement also noted that the government is expected to bear the full costs of the COVID-19 tests for the students of government owned schools while parents/ owners of private schools are expected to do same for their students.
Soyombo said it became necessary to remind the general public, particularly parents and operators in the education sector, of the government’s position after a protest was staged by parents of some of the students who presented themselves for the test over the alleged payment of #25,000 before the test could be carried out.
“This is part of the measures being put in place to avoid community transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic amongst our children in the boarding facilities and invariably, the state as a whole,” she said.
“A key additional requirement is presentation of certificate of negative COVID-19 test before a student is admitted to the boarding facility in both public and private schools in the state.”
“All private school owners are also expected to ensure that all their boarding students are certified COVID-19 test negative before being admitted into their boarding facilities.”
“To further assist the private schools, Ogun State Government has negotiated a huge discount in the cost of COVID-19 Test with some healthcare service providers.”
The special adviser, however, stated that private school owners and parents are free to engage any other service provider of their choice as long as the service provider is certified by the NCDC as COVID-19 Test service provider.
“Indeed, Certificate of negative COVID-19 Test from other locations across the country will be tenable provided, as usual, it is from an NCDC certified centre and the test has been performed within 72 hours of the date of resumption.”
Speaking further, Soyombo said only boarding facilities directly operated by schools will be allowed to operate to enable the government to monitor such facilities for compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
She enjoined parents and school owners to work together to ensure that health and safety of the students is of paramount consideration .
“Should any private school owner and parents desire a waiver of COVID-19 Test requirement for boarding students, a joint representation of the school owner and the parents should be made to the government and this shall be considered on a case-by-case basis,” she added.
Amongst other initiatives put in place by the government is the distribution of face masks to all the schools in the state (public and private).