The Association of Nursery and Primary Education Instructors in Nigeria has urged school owners and administrators to prepare for students and teachers healthcare safety ahead of schools resumption.
Its National President, Simeon Fowowe, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos.
Fowowe said each school must possess incident reporting and approved schools safety insurance.
He said school owners and administrators should also provide good condition, sufficient, reliable and health assurance safety for the students and teachers.
According to Fowowe, schools should be responsible for providing a healthy environment to develop or support safe hygiene behaviour to avoid contact of viruses and diseases among students.
He said: “With the current Coronavirus pandemic situation in the country, lives of students and teachers will not be safe, if they should go back to schools.
“There is an urgent need for government at all levels and school administrators to formulate policies, guidelines and protocols on safety and security matters.”
Fowowe said safety policy should be written and signed by the school authorities and encourage both staff and students’ participation.
He said: “The following objectives, amongst others, should be considered when implementing the policies, including: promotion of good safety practices within the school system.
“Others are: provision and maintenance of safe working conditions, equipment, systems and practice of work for teachers and pupils and maintaining the safety, development and welfare of children, while adult to child staff ratio must be maintained.
“As often as possible, students should be taught how to wash their hands, drink clean water throughout the school day, making use of approved toilets for urination, defeacation and washing of hands with liquid soap and sanitisers.”
Fowowe said schools should prioritise good health status of staff, increase productivity and create a safe working environment to reduce sickness and absenteeism.
“For children between age three and seven years, the staff ratio is 1:8 or 1-25 as provided in the National Policy on Education (2014). It is advisable that the minimum of two staff should be on duty,” he said.
Fowowe added that there had been silent and open agitations from concerned parents and educators to the government for reopening of schools to complete the second term examinations.
He said: “Some wish the third term begins immediately while few want both electronic and physical learning kick-start.
“Teachers still remain the major facilitators of this learning, therefore, those in charge of education at the government levels and private schools should weigh not only the health of their students, but also the teachers who are at elevated risk.
“Education Administrators who wish to re-open schools now, should coordinate closely with health agencies to enact policies to keep teachers, as well as students, safe and healthy.
“They should also improve the lives and prospects of children and teachers through high-quality research. This should be a priority during post COVID-19.”