The Federal Ministry of Environment is set to commence the decontamination of open and hidden spaces of public schools in Nigeria upon resumption from Eid-al-Adha holiday, in preparation for the resumption of activities to 19,000 Federal Government Colleges (aka Unity Schools) and other schools that will also host the Senior Secondary Schools Certificate Examinations (SSCEs). This is sequel to the announcement of the Ministry of Education dated 27th July 2020 on the resumption of secondary schools in the country for exit classes only, and the announcement of plans and schedules for the year’s final examinations on the 29th July 2020.
The honourable Minister for Environment, Dr Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar, held a press briefing yesterday, 30th July 2020 on the Federal Government’s decontamination of the public schools, and said such exercises will help protect the health of learners and caregivers and reassure parents and guardians that the FG will not jeopardise the safety of the students and staff of schools.
The press release from the Ministry of Environment reads thus:
“DECONTAMINATION/DISINFECTION OF SCHOOLS: MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT TO BEGIN EXERCISE IMMEDIATELY UPON RESUMPTION FROM EID-EL-KABIR BREAK
“Today, the Honourable Minister of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar held a press briefing in Kaduna on the decontamination/disinfection of schools by the Federal Ministry of Environment. The briefing comes after the announcement was made by the Ministry of Education that schools will be reopening on August 4th, 2020.
“The Minister stated that the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Education were collaborating to put in place a sustainable system for decontamination/disinfection of schools nationwide. “This system will protect the health of learners and their care-givers at all educational levels as well as reassure parents of the safety and well being of their wards.”
“The Minister explained that the exercise will be started in Federal Government Colleges (Unity Schools) and some of the schools that will host the Senior School Certificate Examination, numbering about 19,000.
“The decontamination/disinfection will begin in Unity Schools immediately after the Eid el Kabir break.
“To minimize exposure at the examination centres, Environmental Health Officers (EHO) will establish surveillance desks to ensure adherence to Covid-19 guidelines.
“Dr Abubakar urged State Governments and private school proprietors to ensure regular decontamination/disinfection of schools by licensed Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) because only decontamination certificates issued by licensed professionals are valid.
“The Minister stated that in a bid to ensure evidence based service and also determine the pre and post treatment virulence of surfaces and environments, the Ministry will be introducing a contamination meter as a means of verification. In this regard,
Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) meters will be deployed in order to obtain real time contamination values on the go.
“Disturbed by the recent lackadaisical attitude being exhibited towards the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister decided to seize the opportunity to reiterate the importance of adhering to all safety protocols and guidelines advised by the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and medical experts. He stressed that it was too early to think of letting down one’s guard as far as safety protocols and guidelines are concerned.”””””
The steps being taken by the relevant authorities and ministries are necessary to forestall further spread of the COVID-19, as it is now scientifically acknowledged that younger people are potential heavy carriers of the virus and can quickly transmit same to older people and those of weaker immune systems.