Following public outcry over guidelines released for returning students in Ogun State, the Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has put on hold announced mandatory coronavirus test for students seating for 2020 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and other national examinations in the state.
Abiodun stated that modalities for admittance of students into secondary school boarding houses would be at discretion of the management and Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of each school to decide in the state.
The Governor, who suspended the test in an interview with newsmen on Monday, directed that all government laboratories should carry out tests for returning boarding students free and that all those who have paid for tests be refunded immediately.
While appealing to parents over inconveniences experienced over directives announced earlier, the governor appealed that boarding students with underlying health conditions should attend school from home to prevent them from a possible contraction of the virus.
“The health of our children remains our utmost priority, however in view of the total number of boarding students to be tested (5,340private and 500 public), and bearing in mind the limitation of our installed testing capacity of 500 tests per day, it may not be feasible for all boarding students to get tested and get their results prior to the resumption or even exams which commence on 17th August 2020.
“Consequently, the State Government has, therefore, stepped down the COVID-19 test as a mandatory requirement for returning students in our exit classes. We, therefore, enjoin Private School owners to exercise their duty of care to their pupils. The admittance of students into boarding houses in private secondary schools will be at the discretion of the management and the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of such private schools”.
The governor emphasized that the private laboratories conducting the virus test at N50,400 were accredited by National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and Lagos State Government for walk-in tests, saying, there is no financial benefit to the state government.
Abiodun explained that the fee for students in private boarding schools was subsidized to N25,000 by the laboratories after negotiation with Ministries of Health and Education.
He noted that decisions made earlier on COVID-19 were reached after a meeting with school owners, teachers, and other stakeholders’ in the sector in Ogun state.
According to him, our state has one of the largest population of boarding students in the country, coming from all over the Country. After consultations with health professionals, we concluded that testing the children for COVID-19 before admittance will reduce the risk of community transmission.