Following the Federal Government’s decision that schools across Nigeria be reopened on the 4th August, 2020 for exiting classes, Mount St Gabriel’s Secondary School and Government College both in Makurdi metropolis among other schools in Benue state resumed yesterday with strict adherence to the prevention guidelines put in place by the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC.
An assessment carried out by TheSKY Newspaper at MSG Makurdi confirmed that while the staff resumed fully, the students were yet to turn out in large numbers and the Covid-19 safety protocols were strictly observed as students, teachers and visitors’ temperature was tested with thermometer and sanitizers as well as running water was provided at the gate for hand washing
Principal, Mount St Gabriel’s secondary School, Rev. Fr John Asen said the school had set up Covid-19 hygiene committee headed by the Vice Principal Administration to ensure the safety of both the staff and the students and so they were familiar with the guidelines.
Rev. Asen said they have a lot of classrooms to spread the students in order to maintain social distance in keeping with the Federal Government directives.
On the preparedness of the students for exams, Rev Asen said they were ready because the exams cover the work from JSS1-3 for Basic Education Certificate Examinations, BECE, and SS1-3 for Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations, SSCE. So what the students needed was just finishing touches and intensive revision on what they were taught all along. Although he was expecting up to 217 students to resume, only about 80 of them were in school but he said the day was “too young to judge” because the students were in high spirit to come back and the school just reopened.
When he was asked how the MSG was prepared to handle emergency cases of Covid-19, the Principal said they were not alone because they have a government that is concerned about the safety and welfare of Benue the child and the Benue teacher. He said the ministry of Education and the ministry of Health were solidly behind them and will always intervene when need arises.
At Government College Makurdi, the situation was the same as the principal of the school, Mrs Agnes Dookenger Ulam said, all the staff resumed except for two of them who were feeling indisposed. She was expecting close to 200 students but only 3 students in SS3 class resumed. However, she was optimistic that they will excel in the exams because they finished their syllabus before the pandemic struck and they were studying online while at home.
Mrs Ulam said all the safety measures were observed apart from the fumigation of the school which she explained that they were waiting for the state government to come to their aid to enable them do it because according to her, Government College is an exchange school and so the students were not paying money to treasury of the school, hence the lack.
Other challenges mitigating against the school according to the principal include theft of the school facilities and lack of funds. She lamented that even a night before the school reopened, thieves broke into the institution’s e-library. They also entered through the collapsed fence during the shutdown and carried two Air Conditioners, one was recovered with the help of the vigilante group but was seriously damaged. She disclosed that the school was owing some old staff ( “old men) for two years because they lacked the funds to pay them.