The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said that primary and secondary schools structures above two-storey buildings would be subjected to integrity test in order to ensure the safety of students after resumption in the state.
Sanwo-Olu said that investigation revealed that many of the school owners flouted the State’s structural regulations while erecting their buildings and that the test would assist the government to correct the anomalies.
The governor’s directives came hours after a three-storey school building owned by Excel Collage, a private school, in Ejigbo axis of Lagos collapsed after it had been prepared to welcome students following the over five months closure announced by Federal Government to curtail community transmission of coronavirus in the country.
He announced the directives while briefing newsmen on achievements recorded to remove Lagos from COVID-19 affected cities and plans for Monday, September 21st school reopening in the state.
According to him, from next week, all primary and secondary schools that have more than two-storey structures would be subjected to integrity test to ensure the safety of pupils.
While condemning the action of the collapsed school owner in Ejigbo, the governor, yesterday, observed that the flagrant contravention of extant rules by the school owner was responsible for the structure collapse.
Aside that he directed Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development to remove the structure, Sanwo-Olu ordered that the ministry and other related agencies including Lagos State Materials Testing Laboratory (LSMTL), to ensure all school structures above two-storey building undergo testing before students access them.
Also, the governor clarified that only private primary and secondary schools were granted full reopening and that students in public schools except students in Junior Secondary School Three (JSS 3) and Senior Secondary School Two (SSS 2), that could resume on September 21, 2020 , others should continue with their online classes.
The Governor said the public schools’ resumption would allow the JSS 3 pupils to revise and prepare for Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) slated for October 12, 2020 while the time would be used by SSS 2 students to prepare for their transitional exams to SSS 3.
Unlike the resumption schedule for public schools, the Governor permitted all levels of class in private schools to resume, but with strong advice to private school owners to consider implementing a staggered daily resumption schedule and classes on alternate days during the week.
But, all pre-primary school classes, including nursery, daycare centres and kindergarten, in both public and private schools were not permitted to open by the governor.
Sanwo-Olu said: “It has become necessary to issue clarifications regarding the resumption of schools, in order to clear any confusion that may have arisen since the resumption date was announced. Public Schools will adopt a phased protocol for resumption of physical classes. Students in JSS 3 and SSS 2 in public schools in Lagos are to resume physical classes from September 21.
The Governor said that all schools must comply with safety protocols and hygiene guidelines set by Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA), just as he disclosed that the office would be monitoring compliance in the state.