Lagos State Government on Saturday further eased the restrictions on worship centres, permitting observation of daily prayers in mosques and midweek services in churches.

Lagos State Government on Saturday further eased the restrictions on worship centres, permitting observation of daily prayers in mosques and midweek services in churches.

It also approved the resumption of public and private schools from September 21, 2020, adding that only Junior Secondary School 3 and Senior Secondary School 2 pupils in public schools would resume for physical classes.

Worship centres, schools and firms among others were closed six months ago during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic before the gradual easing of the restrictions.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who spoke during a COVID-19 briefing at Lagos House, Marina, on Saturday, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Gboyega Akosile, noted that the resumption would allow the JSS 3 pupils to prepare for Basic Education Certificate Examination slated for October 12, 2020. He urged those in SSS 2 to use the period to revise for their transitional exams to SSS 3.

Though the governor permitted all classes in private schools to resume unlike the resumption schedule for public schools, he advised private school owners to consider implementing a staggered daily resumption schedule and classes on alternate days during the week.

However, all pre-primary school classes, including nursery, daycare centres and kindergarten in both public and private schools weren’t permitted to open for now.

Sanwo-Olu also ordered the immediate reopening of cinemas and gyms, but with a maximum of 33 per cent occupancy, stressing that there must be a minimum of two empty seats between occupied seats in the cinemas.

The governor said, “As regards our places of worship, we are now also permitting the mosques to resume their five times a day prayers; and in the case of churches, they are now also permitted to resume their midweek services. We must not forget that the coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us, and we must therefore strive to prioritise the safety of all our children, teachers, parents, and the entire society.”

“It has become necessary to issue clarifications regarding the resumption of schools, in order to clear any confusion that may have arisen since the resumption date was announced. Public Schools will adopt a phased protocol for resumption of physical classes. Students in JSS 3 and SSS 2 in public schools in Lagos are to resume physical classes from September 21.

“In the same vein, all private primary and secondary schools are permitted to resume from September 21. We have strongly advised school owners and managers to put safety first and open in phases similar to the announced schedule for public schools.

“School owners and managers are advised to seriously consider implementing a staggered daily resumption schedule, classes on alternate days during the week, and utilisation of distance learning methods as a complement to physical classes. All pre-primary–nursery, daycare and kindergarten–classes and schools in both public and private schools must remain closed.

“For all other public school classes in primary school and JSS 1, JSS 2, and SSS 1, announcements for resumption will be made as soon as the state government is satisfied that all necessary resumption protocols have been put in place.’’

The governor said all re-opened schools must comply with safety protocols and hygiene guidelines as instructed by the state government through the Office of Education Quality Assurance, noting that the department would monitor and evaluate schools’ preparedness.

Reacting to Saturday’s collapse of a private school in the Ejigbo area of the state, Sanwo-Olu said all primary and secondary schools in the state having more than two-storey structures would be subjected to integrity test to ensure the safety of pupils.

He further said the state government would take definite decisions on the reopening of night-clubs, bars, event centres, spas, public parks next month, warning that dire consequences awaited those in this category who flouted the restrictions.

Yire Fwesh

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