COVID-19: Schools in Lagos begin preventive measures to protect pupils, students

Some schools in Lagos have started implementing preventive measures to protect their pupils and students against contracting infectious diseases like COVID-19, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Checks by NAN in some public and private schools in Surulere, Ebute Meta, Apapa,  Ikorodu and other areas of Lagos State, revealed that most of the schools had started adhering to the preventive measures against infectious diseases.

NAN reports that some of the schools that still have the wash hand basin used during the 2014 Ebola virus disease in their school’s entrance have started putting them to use.

A parent, Mrs Bidemi Adesanya, said she resorted to ensuring that her children always have hand sanitisers in their school bags, with instruction that they must use it often.

Adesanya urged school proprietors to invest in hand sanitisers for each classroom, saying that the sanitiser should be placed in the custody of class teachers and used appropriately for the pupils.

“Buying a hand sanitisers should not be a big deal for schools, after all parents paid development levy, keeping the school disease-free is part of development,” Adesanya said.

Also, Mrs Tinuade Adeshiyan, a parent at Mother’s Vine Nursery and Primary School, Ikorodu, said that handwashing in schools for students should be continuous and not limited to only period when there was an outbreak in the country.

Commenting, Mr Adeyemi Amolese, Media Relations Officer, Kingsfield College, Ikorodu, said that the school had made it compulsory for students to wash their hands before entering the school premises.

Amolese said that the school had also installed more hand washing bowls within the school premises.

“On Feb. 28, we brought in a health worker to sensitise the students on how to stay safe from COVID-19 and the importance of regular handwashing,” he said.

In her remarks, Mrs Mary Akintomide, Head Teacher, St. Paul Primary and Nursery School, Apapa, Lagos, said the school would reintroduce the hand sanitising approach as a way to ensure proper hygiene.

Akintomide said the major objective for reintroducing the hand sanitiser was to guard against contraction of infectious diseases, particularly Lassa fever, which was recorded recently in Lagos State.

She said it was during the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak that the school adopted the hand sanitiser practice and had since abandoned it.

According to her, the current high rate of infectious diseases spread has made it pertinent that the school bring back the hand sanitiser mechanism.

“This is to ensure that everyone can be sanitised right at the school’s gate before entering.

“Being a government school, there is supposed to be a circular to that effect, which has not come.

“But in this case and to be on the safer side, we may not wait for the circular.

“We will, on our own, buy the sanitiser and all other required materials soonest,” Akintomide said.

She said that before now, the pupils and teachers were being sensitised on the need to maintain proper hygiene on regular basis during the morning assembly.

Akintomide said that the school also joined people all over the world to celebrate the “Global Hand Washing Day” which was held on Oct. 15, 2019.

“On that day, we educated and sensitised the pupils on the need to regularly watch their hands with soap and running water with a view to maintaining proper hygiene and healthy living.

“The pupils are also educated on ways to maintain good sanitation, even at home and wherever environment they found themselves.

“Even on Nov. 19, 2019, some local government health workers visited the school and sensitised everyone, including the pupils on sanitation.

“And there are different points of running tap water within the school premises where pupils can go to wash their hands at any time,” she said.

However, a parent, Mrs Abimbola Smith, complained that priorities of some schools were more centred on financial gains than protecting the welfare of their students.

“Washing hands constantly will reduce the outbreak of infectious diseases among the students, but the schools will not take the initiative, except they are forced by the government.

“Some of them do not even have running waters or soaps in their toilets, and this is very bad, unhygienic and unhealthy for children.

“I have quarreled with them in my child’s school about it, but there seems to be no improvement.

“My child usually restrains himself from defaecating until he gets back home because of the state of the school’s toilets,” she said.

Smith urged the state government to dispatch the environmental health officers to schools to ensure hygiene of the environment and protecting the children.

Responding, Dr Folarin Ajayi, the Director, Environmental Health Service, Lagos State Ministry of Health, said that officials of the ministry had held meetings with principals, proprietors and teachers in Lagos, on the importance of maintaining hygiene in schools.

Ajayi said that the schools were instructed to ensure installation of handwashing basins and make it mandatory for anyone coming into the school premises to wash their hands.

He said that officials from the ministry would continue to inspect schools toward ensuring compliance to the directive of handwashing for students. (NAN)