The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has condemned demands by some states that students should present the results of their coronavirus test before they could be allowed to return to the classroom.
The PTF said it is “far more important to monitor” every resuming pupil for symptoms of coronavirus than making negative COVID-19 test result from a requirement for each pupil to return to the classroom.
It was earlier reported that parents of pupils in private secondary schools in Ogun state on Sunday, August 2, kicked against the request of N25,000 COVID-19 test fee by the government.
Sani Aliyu, the national coordinator of PTF, while reacting on Monday, August 3, during a briefing in Abuja, informed that a negative COVID-19 test result is only valid for the moment it was conducted.
He, therefore, advised school administrators to rather watch out for symptoms of the virus among pupils and ask such pupils to seek medical attention. Aliyu said: “Regarding the cost for students who are testing for COVID-19, our protocol is very clear when it comes to indications for testing and it is also important to realize that when you do a COVID-19 test if you get a negative result, it is only valid for that period of time – for that point in time when you have taken it. “The next day, you could have a positive result especially if you are in an incubation period. Therefore, the validity of a negative test is quite limited.
“It is far more important to monitor for symptoms, to check for temperature, to make sure students that have symptoms like cough or any other respiratory symptoms are told to stay back at home, and seek medical attention. It will be far more useful than doing the COVID-19 test before they resume.”
The national coordinator stressed that those who are most vulnerable to the virus are the elderly. “It’s not really the young ones who will be an issue but the old ones. When we protect ourselves, we also protect our loved ones who could be put in an unsafe condition,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the previous report had it that the decision of the Ogun state government to impose a mandatory N25,000 payment for COVID-19 and malaria tests for returning boarding students in private schools sparked protests among parents.
It was reported that the Senior Secondary three students (SS3) were expected to resume schools ahead of their West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), but the government-mandated each student to undergo a test as a precondition for resumption into school.
The government had said no boarding school student would be admitted into schools without a certificate of COVID-19 test which must be negative.
In another report, the Minister of Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, disclosed that all the 104 Unity Colleges across the country are ready to reopen for the final year classes.
He also said this during the daily briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 in Abuja.
According to Nwajiuba: “All the 104 Unity Colleges are ready to open their gates to exit classes tomorrow, August 4, 2020.”
The federal government had shut down schools in Nigeria, following the outbreak of COVID-19.
However, the Federal Ministry of Education had on July 27 announced that exiting classes of secondary schools will resume on August 4th.
In a statement signed by its Director Press and Public Relation, Ben Ben Goong, the Ministry had explained that the decision was to allow the exiting classes to take their final examinations.