Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government has concluded plans to open schools for all students in line with the guidelines and safety protocols put in place to forestall the spread of the COVID-19 disease in the state.
To this end it has commenced the training of teachers and other health care professionals for them to train other people to ensure the safety of students and children when the schools reopen fully.
Governor Douye Diri who spoke while declaring open the Safe Re-Opening of Schools Train-the-Trainers Programme organised by the state government at the Harold Dappa-Biriye Conference Centre in Yenagoa said government is desirous to prevent community transmission of COVID-19.
He also seized the opportunity to warn that private schools not registered with the Ministry of Education would not be allowed to operate as they would not be able to guarantee the safety of students.
Diri who announced the inauguration of a monitoring committee challenged school teachers and parents to take responsibility for the wellbeing of their students and children as they resume to write their exams.
The governor rated the Bayelsa State Government high in the fight against COVID-19 adding that his administration would not relent in its efforts to keep all residents of the state safe.
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has found the need to reopen certain key institutions in collaboration with state governments. But we must continue to keep to the protocols and guidelines to avoid any further spread of the pandemic.
“We are here to train key stakeholders in the school system and in the health sector, who will now extend same to their colleagues. That is why it is tagged Train the Trainer. This is the only way to check community transmission in our state.
“As the schools reopen, let us bear in mind that there is no known or recommended cure for COVID-19 although recent events have shown that the disease is not a death sentence. Many infected persons have been successfully treated even in our state.
“But we must ensure that at all times we keep to the protocols and the entire checklist that have been provided to protect the future of our children. That is the avowed commitment of our government.
“It is in this light that we have formed a state monitoring committee, which would go round all the schools in the state, including the local government areas. We have provided scanners, 10,000 facemasks and other hygiene-related items like soap and water for private and government secondary schools.”
Meanwhile the governor has lifted the ban on mid-week services for all religious organisations in the state.
Diri who announced this during a meeting with religious leaders however urged religious leaders to continue to maintain all existing COVID-19 protocols during worship.