Benue to shut down schools flouting COVID-19 protocols

By Faith Igbudu

Benue State Government has resolved that it will shut down any school that fails to adhere strictly to COVID-19 protocols, Commissioner for Education, Prof. Dennis Ityavyar has announced.

He made this known while monitoring schools within the Benue North-East senatorial district of the state.

The monitoring visit was to assess the level of compliance to COVID-19 protocols by schools.
According to the commissioner, the state government will not hesitate to close down any school that would take seriously the issue of COVID-19.

During the monitoring visit, it was revealed that at Mbaanyam Day Secondary School in Waapera, Ushongo LGA, students complied with COVID-19 protocols while at Mbagwa Community Secondary School, also in Ushongo, there was poor observance to COVID-19 protocols.

The commissioner reiterated that wearing of face mask is a must for every student and informed parents to provide hand sanitisers for their wards.

At Government Secondary School, Alu, the commissioner frowned at the laxity of teachers and charged them to put in more effort.

He called on the Principal of the school, Sabastine Alagh, to heighten the level of supervision and also tasked the Director, Quality Assurance in the ministry, Mrs. Dorcas Igbahena to up monitoring of the schools.

Prof. Ityavyar, had during the first week of resumption of schools, toured the institutions to get first hand assessment of the level of compliance.

However, The Voice findings revealed that at the moment, social distancing and consistent use of face mask are difficult for students to adhere.

In some schools visited such as Assemblies of God School, High-level, both staff and students were oblivious to the threat of COVID-19, even as classes were seen with no hand washing equipments.

It was further discovered that in most government owned schools, students were compelled to observe all the COVID-19 protocols.

Observations further revealed that students were seen dispatching home in clusters, with no regard to social distancing.

Speaking on the development, a lecturer in the Department of Psychology, Benue State University, Prof. Ihaji O. Ihaji explained that, “although wearing of face mask is a preventive measure, children find it difficult to use not because they do not have it but because of wrong belief about the virus and that they are not used to it.”

According to him, “even those that wear it do so to satisfy a condition and after school, they remove it. They do not wear it in the home, market, buses and other public places.”

Head Teacher, Nativity Private School, Makurdi, Rev. Sis Blessing Okpe advised parents and guardians to always provide face masks to their wards, even when they are at home.

In their separate remarks, the Executive Secretary, Teaching Service Board (TSB), Frank Ikyugun, Special Advisers on secondary and tertiary education, Matthew Mnyam and his basic education counterpart, Dr. Sarwuan Tarnongu encouraged the teachers to always give their best in discharging their duties.

Some of the visited schools are Mbagwa Community Secondary School, Lessel, Government Secondary School Lessel, Government Science Secondary School Ihugh, Tsambe Community Secondary School, Adeiyongo, Mbaakon Grammar Secondary School, Mbaakon and Government Secondary School, Vandeikya.

Meanwhile, in Kwande and Ushongo Local Government Areas, the commissioner met with teachers who converged on Adikpo Comprehensive College and at Government Special Science Secondary School, Ushongo.

Addressing them, Ityavyar said; “The quality of future leaders we will have tomorrow will be determined by the quality of school principals now. We consider principals very important in the education of our children. All of you as principals must be vision oriented to tackle the various challenges you face. Use vision to produce the best”

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