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Distinguished colleagues.

Esteemed Stakeholders in Education

Gentlemen of the Press. 

The National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools NAPPS which is the umbrella body of the private school owners has noted with grave concerns the recent pronouncement credited to the Federal Government as regards the proposed review of the resumption date of schools fixed for 18th of January 2021 due to the resurgence of the COVID-19 infections in the country. While we appreciate the concerns of the Federal Government and are grateful to the government also for their support and efforts to keep the school safe of the virus, we wish to differ from the review of the date which could keep the schools closed as against the earlier date announced due to the following reasons as justification for our demand to keep the schools open; 

A.  The schools have been at the forefront of support for strict adherence to the Covid-19 safety protocols as recommended by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) within the school environment. This assertion can be supported by clean bills of health received by various schools' management during the earlier visits of government's monitoring teams on  COVID- 19 safety protocols to schools in the country. For emphasis sake, the COVID-19 safety protocol practices in place in schools are as follows: 

i. Enforcement of the use of face masks for learners, teachers, support staff and visitors. 

ii. Provision of facility to ensure frequent washing/ sanitising of hands with alcohol-based hand sanitisers. 

iii. Daily temperature reading of the learners, teachers, support staff and visitors to the schools. 

iv.  Observance of the Physical distancing rule in classes, school buses etc 

v.   Visitors to the school are made to strictly follow COVID - 19 safety protocols otherwise they will be turned back from entering the school premises. 

vi.  No sick learners, staff or visitors are allowed into the school premises. 

vii.  Availability of qualified health practitioner(s) within the school environment for monitoring the health of students, teachers and others within the school environment. 

B. We suggest staggered reopening of Schools where some students attend schools in the morning and others in the afternoon or alternative days of the week especially for public schools with a high population of students while this may not apply to private schools due to a manageable number of students per school. 

C. Phased reopening of schools for different classes could be adopted. 

D. Reduced hours of learning within the school environment to reduce the probability of exposure to the virus. 

E. While Adopting Remote learning as a complement to learning, we should take cognizance of the vulnerable children who may have difficulty engaging in remote learning due to lack of devices or quiet space to study. This makes physical schooling more desirable. 

F.  Challenges associated with remote learning which are likely to bring negative consequences due to learners' exposure to explicit contents, high cost of data, power supply etc 

G. Creation of Isolation room within the school environment for those who suddenly show symptoms of illness while in schools. 

H.  Private Schools cannot afford another prolonged closure of schools to prevent the total collapse of private education sub-sector. 

I. Majority of students leave in unorganized environments that are not helping to curb the spread of the virus so putting them in organised environments like schools protect them better especially when their parents/ guardians are at work. 

j.  NAPPS as an association has also put in place its internal monitoring committee to ensure private schools in the country continue to adhere to the recommended COVID-19 safety protocols 

k.  Recent pronouncement of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) that schools are not drivers of Covid-19 pandemic while noting that closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic will impact negatively on the development, safety and mental wellbeing of children globally. 

l.   Our recommendations 

NAPPS, therefore, enjoins the government to keep the school open and enforce compliance with Covid-19 protocols to save lives and livelihood. 

The government should also put in place enforcement mechanism of all non-pharmaceutical protocols in the schools' system 

We also call on parents to own the fight against the spread of Covid-19 through Parents Teachers Association( PTA).  PTA should form Covid-19 Compliance officers among parents that will rotate visitation to schools on regular basis for compliance. 

Schools provide a safe environment for vulnerable children whose parents are front liners in the fight against Covid-19.  

In a city like Lagos where parents are always out of home, schools come to the rescue to keep these children safe. 

We equally call on the government to enforce little hours at work for workers to allow them to return home on time to attend to their children 

Given the increase in crime and social vices among the youths and teenagers, governments should implement all non-pharmaceutical COVID-19 protocols in schools rather than close schools. 

We encourage the Federal Government to invest in vaccination that will go round in good time. 

We also seize this great opportunity to appreciate the Federal Government for their decision to support private schools teachers through their palliative programme. However, our experience during the last lockdown and the implementation  of the palliative programme has come with great concern and reservations. But we are currently collating the data concerning the support programme and will engage the government in due course of our findings. 

m.   In conclusion, while we believe that there is no basis for the continued closure of schools in the country due to COVID-19  as this may lead to negative consequences especially for our fragile educational system, we also align with the UNICEF concerns that the effects of closing school for another year will be felt for generations to come. However, NAPPS would continue to engage both the government and other stakeholders on the need for resumption of schools without further postponement in the country just as schools are prepared to observe as usual the necessary protocols to prevent the spread of the virus. 

We thank you all for your rapt attention. 

God bless. 


Chief Yomi Otubela Fcma

National President NAPPS.

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