School resumption: Parents, ogun state government at loggerhead over N25, 000 fee on corona virus test

The Parents and Ogun State Government are now at loggerhead over introduction for compulsory payment of N25, 000 for students to undergo coronavirus test before students could be allow to resume schools in the state

Penpushing reports that, the parents’ majority of them mothers were at coronavirus test ground at Oke-Mosan to enable their children undergo the test, which was one of the conditions announced by the state government before resumption, but dawned on them when told they have to pay the amount for the required test

The state government had declared that no boarding school pupil would be allowed to resume without a valid negative coronavirus test medical certificate, and ordered parents to take their wards to designated test grounds for the exercise between Friday and Monday

Penpushing further reports who were dissatisfied over the fee introduction lamented on the development alleging the government of non challance, stressing that the economic reality in the country has made it difficult for them to pay the prescribed fees

The parent further declared that, they would not pay the amount, adding that, it would have been proper for government to be responsible for that, arguing that if public schools are exempted from the payment, there was no justification for parents whose children attend private schools should ask to pay.

Penpushing also reports, in reaction to the development, Ogun State Government said the payment is only applicable to the students in private schools, adding that government was responsible for pupils in public schools.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Basic and Secondary Education, Mrs Ronke Soyombo, in a statement on Sunday said the clarification has become necessary to remind the general public, particularly parents and operators in the education sector, of government position, which is based on the Guidelines jointly developed and agreed by parents, private school owners, government representatives and other stakeholders.

The statement noted that, Ogun State is arguably the State with the highest number of schools (public and private) operating boarding facilities in the country with students’ population drawn from far and wide.

Penpushing reports that, Soyombo said in view of this and the need to avoid community transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic amongst children in the boarding facilities and invariably the State as whole, additional requirements for opening of boarding facilities in all the secondary schools in the State were agreed.

‘A key additional requirement is presentation of certificate of NEGATIVE COVID-19 TEST before a student is admitted to the boarding facility in both public and private schools in the State.

Penpushing further reports that, Soyombo in the statement, disclosed that  the following implementation details should be noted by parents and othe stakeholders in the educational sector;

• The government will bear the full costs of the COVID-19 Test for all the boarding SS3 students in the State-owned public schools.

• All private school owners are also expected to ensure that all their boarding students are certified COVID-19 test negative before being admitted into their boarding facilities.

• To further assist the private schools, Ogun State Government has negotiated a huge discount in the cost of COVID-19 Test with some healthcare service providers.

• However, private school owners and parents are free to engage any other service provider of their choice provided that the service provider is certified by NCDC as COVID-19 Test service provider.

• Indeed, Certificate of negative COVID-19 Test from other locations across the country will be tenable provided, as usual, it is from an NCDC certified centre and the test has been performed within 72 hours of the date of resumption.

• Only boarding facilities directly operated by schools will be allowed to operate to enable government monitoring of such facilities for compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

• Parents and school owners are enjoined to work together to ensure that health and safety of our students is of paramount consideration at all times. Should any private school owner and parents desire a waiver of COVID-19 Test requirement for boarding students, a joint representation of the school owner and the parents should be made to the government and this shall be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Penpushing also reports that, Soyombo emphasised that the coronavirus test for boarding students is just one of the measures jointly developed and agreed with the parents, school owners, health experts and relevant government agencies.

The statement warned that government will not shirk in its responsibility of protecting all citizens and residents of Ogun State,stressing that, and these include students in the public and private schools.

‘Amongst other such initiatives, government has commenced distribution of facemasks to all the schools in Ogun State – public and private – for the use of returning SS3 students and their teachers’ statement added.

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