Nigeria

NCDC Weekly Epidemiological Report: Issue: Volume 11 No. 39: 21st – 27th September 2020

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Highlight of the Week

Public Health Guidance for Safe School Re-opening in Nigeria

On the 27th of July 2020, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF-COVID-19) announced the gradual reopening of schools across the country. This initially applied to students in exiting classes with guidance on COVID-19 preventive measures while other classes and levels were to resume subsequently. The PTF-COVID-19 has continued to work with relevant stakeholders to conduct risk assessments for evidence-based decision making, to ensure the safe reopening of schools in the context of COVID-19.

In line with this, the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with PTF-COVID-19, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and other relevant stakeholders, have published a Public Health Guidance for Safe School Re-opening in Nigeria. As some States commence the reopening of schools for all students, this guidance is critical for mitigating the risk of COVID-19 infection in school settings.

The document contains strongly recommended activities such as periodic risk assessments by States, Local Government Areas (LGAs) and schools. Every school should have up to date information on the medical status of each student and a clear communication plan in case of an outbreak/confirmed case of COVID-19 in a class. In addition, there should be designated handwashing, triage and sample collection points within the school premises. Importantly, all staff and students six years and above should wear face masks and classrooms must be well ventilated with a minimum of one-metre sitting arrangement.

More information on the guidance can be found here and visual posters can be accessed here. To ensure collaboration on planning, implementation and other response activities, schools should have contact details of their LGA’s rapid response teams and State Ministry of Health (including state epidemiologists). We strongly advise parents, teachers, school owners and all relevant stakeholders in the educational sector to take responsibility for creating a safe learning environment for students.