By Idowu Abdullahi,
Concerned about the health and safety of students and pupils in the state, the Lagos State Government has mandated public and private school heads, proprietors, teachers and administrators to adopt prompt preventive measures against outbreak of the coronavirus disease in schools.
It stated that such announcement, which followed recent detection of the coronavirus disease index case in the state and subsequent quarantine of the Italian patient, was necessary to curb possible spread of the disease especially amongst children, who are vulnerable members of society.
The state’s Commissioner for Education, Folasade Adefisayo, explained that based on coronavirus data gathered from various countries, the disease in itself was not fatal but couldlead to death in persons with low immunity or with a higher susceptibility to imfections, like children, and that it had then become imperative to curtail any eventuality, and prevent possible emergence of an outbreak of the disease as well as any other infectious diseases.
Adefisayo reiterated that the playful nature of children made them more susceptible to viral infections, and also noted that if not properly managed, school children could act as bridge, taking the infection from their schools into their respective homes and neighbourhoods.
The commissioner, in a statement released in the state, on Monday, through the ministry Public Affairs Unit Head, Kayode Abayomi, had explained that in order to curb possible spread of coronavirus in communities, it was of paramount importance to keep the younger generation safe.
She emphasized that schools were, therefore, expected to provide facilities for regular hand washing and sanitization, instill values of cleanliness in their pupils and stay observant to note, separate and inform authorities of any child who showed symptoms.
“The State Government, through the Ministry of Health, recently activated an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) which is the command and control centre where possible suspected cases are screened and to coordinate operational information and resources for the strategic management of emergencies in preparation against infectious diseases,”
“Also, the Biosafety Laboratory located at the Lagos Mainland Hospital, built to ensure effective management of infectious diseases has fully commenced operations, just as surveillance activities are being intensified across the State to fast track the diagnosis and management of infectious diseases whenever they occur,”
“Such facilities will be meaningless if we do not pay proper attention to the healtha nd wellbeing of our children, the future generations, who are particularly susceptible to the spread of viral diseases, and as such must be protected, hence, government’s manadation of schools adoption of preventive measures against coronavirus”.
According to her, the signs of coronavirus infection included symptoms like stuffy nose, sore throat and a dry cough, adding that the disease could be spread through contact with infected persons hands, face, bodily secretations or by contact with objects carrying such bodily secretions of infected persons.
Adefisayo advised school heads and administrators to provide clean wash hand stands with water and soap alongside alcohol based hand sanitizers at designated points within their school premises to prevent possible spread of the disease and added that students and teachers should keep their hands and fingers away from their noses, eyes and mouths and to avoid contact with suspected infected persons.
She further said that it was important to maintain a high level of personal and environmental hygiene as most of the dangerous pathogens are zoonotic infections which come from the food chain and environment to infect people.
Urging the public not to panic, Adefisayo reiterated that the state government had outlined plans and strategies to avert a possible outbreak in densely populated areas and that cooperation was needed from Lagosians to successfully implement the strategies and stop coronavirus spread.