Rasaq Ibrahim, Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti Governor Kayode Fayemi has approved the resumption of schools in the state from July 20.
He however clarified only graduating students will resume then.
Fayemi, who made this disclosure in a statewide broadcast in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday evening, said worship centres, including churches and mosques are to reopen for safe activities on July 17.
He added the state has taken a N2.5 billion Life Insurance cover of N2m each for 500 frontline medical personnel involved in the COVID-19 assignment as part of efforts to boost their morale.
The governor said the reopening of schools was meant to allow students in graduating classes to resume preparation for examinations.
“However, this might be in phases starting with students in terminal classes SS3, JSS3 and Primary 6 to prepare for their examinations . Other classes will be gradually absorbed as schools meet all requirements to accommodate them safely and responsibly.
“A certificate of Readiness showing that a school has adhered to all the conditions required for school reopening will be issued to all schools before they can reopen”.
Fayemi added the government apart from setting the general standard for both the private and public schools to reopen, is embarking on a quick rejuvenation of our schools to ensure that basic facilities such as water, sanitizer, soap and other facilities to aid hygienic practices are in place.
He said he had also directed that all the schools should be fumigated and kept safe for our students before reopening. Our school reopening plans are without prejudice to the ongoing engagement at the national level.
On the religious centres across the state, Fayemi stated as jointly agreed with the leadership of the faith community, religious worship centres may resume controlled services from Friday July 17, 2020 starting with worship services once a week; Friday Jumat for Muslims and Saturday and Sunday Services for Christians.
“This is however subject to strict and full compliance with the regulations regarding worship centres which includes social distancing of 6-feet between worshippers, hand washing and face masks.
“Maximum capacity of each building should be determined with the six feet social distancing principle and the number must be conspicuously displayed outside the building. A Taskforce will go round to assess the level of compliance and issue a Certificate of Readiness before centres can reopen. Any worship centre that violates the laid down protocols will be shut down and the cleric prosecuted”.
He said subject to compliance with the protocols on the operation of large markets, Oja-Oba and Oja Bisi in Ado-Ekiti will now be open to lock up shops only. Facemasks, social distancing and hand washing will be strictly enforced in all markets in Ekiti State.
“Street trading, makeshift stalls, kiosks and open display of wares in the market are totally prohibited. Traders who do not have permanent shops in these markets are advised to move to Awedele Market where more stalls have been prepared for use. Market leaders should contact necessary authorities on how to secure stalls for affected traders”.
He added further: “Now that we are in phased reopening of the economy, the risk of community spread is very high. Regrettably, it has been observed that many people are now living with a sense of false security by not adhering to the personal safety measures in public, such as the use of face masks, hand-washing or hand-sanitizers and maintaining social distancing.
“This is the time to take personal responsibility for you and your family’s safety and health as contact tracing can no longer eliminate the risk of infection.
Going forward: To ensure our people know how serious this is, I would like to further reiterate that the use of face masks in public places will now be strictly enforced.
” I have directed the Security Agencies and the Ministry of Justice to arrest and prosecute any person caught in public places without wearing the face masks appropriately, covering the nose, mouth, and chin.
“The COVID-19 Prevention Regulation is still in force and anyone caught in violation will be punished in line with the regulations. I was particularly disappointed with the unfortunate news that many of our people were holding funeral, wedding, and birthday parties in flagrant disregard to public safety and in defiance to the ban on such gathering.
“It has also been sadly observed that outside the State capital, people in other towns and villages do not take the preventive measures seriously, they hardly wear face masks nor observe any social or physical distancing, living as if they are invincible or have some immunity against the virus. Such deceptive self-confidence could be catastrophic and must stop in our own interest”.