Commissioners of Education in 19 Northern States have backed the suspension of school reopening by the Federal Government.
The commissioners made this known in a communique issued in Kaduna State on Saturday, after a virtual meeting to consider school reopening and other issues to strengthen the education sector.
The communique was signed by the Commissioner of Education, Kaduna, Dr Shehu Makarfi, who is also the Chairman of the Northern States School Exchange Programme.
The meeting was attended by commissioners of 13 of the 19 northern states namely, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Niger, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Taraba, Kogi, Kwara, Katsina, Kano, Borno and Jigawa.
The commissioners applauded the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, for taking a decisive stand against school reopening and pledged their full support.
According to them, keeping schools closed considering the spike in cases of COVID-19 across the country is a sure step in ensuring that children remain safe.
“We have, therefore, resolved that schools should be reopened only when it is safe to do so and when states have complied with the minimum COVID-19 safety protocols as outlined by the NCDC.
“We will also participate in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination and other examinations only when it is safe to reopen schools and when coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Education,” they said.
The commissioners also resolved to carry out a holistic assessment of schools to determine safety status for reopening and submit reports to their respective governors for consideration.
“Schools’ infrastructure, such as dilapidated classrooms, students’ hostels, source of safe water, sanitary facilities, including hand washing equipment and security are critical and should be improved.
“We will equally clear schools of bushes and grasses, as well as fumigate school’s surroundings to support learning and ensure safety when schools resume,” they said.
They, however, appealed to the Federal Government to support states in putting safety measures in place for school reopening.