The House through its Committee on Basic Education and Services in a statement signed by its Chairman, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, said the earlier decision to reopen academic institutions was ill-timed.
House of Representatives has cautioned the federal government against reopening schools amid the increasing number of deaths attributed to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
It will be recalled that the Ministry of Education had announced that there was no going back on the Monday, January 18, 2020 resumption date.
The Committee observed that many states and individuals have abandoned adherence to the safety measures prescribed by the authorities to guard against the spread of the deadly virus.
The lawmakers, however, gave a number of safety measures to pursue by the federal Ministry of Education if the schools must be reopened for academic activities, seeking 3 months postponement to enable the state and local governments to put all the necessary facilities in place before the resumption.
The statement read in full: “The Committee on Basic Education and Services, House of Representatives has received with some concern the decision of the Federal Government to reopen schools on January 18, 2021.
“We are particularly concerned that when the infection rates hovered around 500 and under, schools were closed but now that it hovers well above 1000 infections daily, schools are being reopened. Why are we rushing to reopen schools without adequate verifiable and sustainable arrangements to protect and secure our children?
“The Committee fully appreciates the implications of continued school closure on the education sector and the larger economy and society. We also acknowledge that the pandemic would remain with us for a while and we must design ways to live with it.
“Similarly, we acknowledge the argument that most young persons have not been as affected by Covid-19 and many are asymptomatic.
“Yet, it does not mean they have full immunity against the virus. We also know that they would be working and interacting with adult teachers, administrative workers and other persons that do not live within the institutions.
“Aside from Lagos and a couple of other states, governments are unable to enforce Covid-19 protocols.