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Sanwo-Olu justifies schools reopening, decries 24,000 absentees students

By Idowu Abdullahi,

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has advanced reasons why his administration approved reopening of schools for student resumption and commencement of academic activities despite surge in positive cases of coronavirus in the state.

He explained that the negative impact of continuous school closure on students across the state informed the government decision, adding that such a long delay was beginning to erode the gains recorded in the education sector as more students were already on the streets to constitute a nuisance.

Sanwo-Olu hinted that the state’s education sector was yet to recover from the impact of the first closure occasioned by COVID-19 outbreak, saying almost 24,000 students were yet to return to school since the lockdown introduced to curb the virus last year.

Speaking on Tuesday during a press conference on COVID-19 Update at the Lagos House, Ikeja, the governor argued that if the students were kept out of school for long, many would lose interest in education and that such portends grave dangers to their future and state at large.

According to him, the commencement of school activities yesterday (Monday) was a difficult decision to make in light of the second wave of covid-19, but I assure you it was the best decision for our children’s safety and long-term development, especially our most vulnerable children.

Stressing the need for students to return to school to continue their education at various levels, Sanwo-Olu disclosed that almost 24,000 students are yet to report in public schools after last year’s lockdown necessitated by the first wave of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

“Last year after the first lockdown and kids have to come back to school, we are still looking for about 24,000 of them that have not come back to school. So, there is a challenge if you keep them out for that long and their parents or guardians now turn them to other things instead of ensuring that they have time to come back for learning even if it is twice or thrice a week.

“At least they have been registered since the beginning of a session and they can be monitored. If not, they will just be roaming the streets and become endangered. We have seen incidents of child abuse and all unprintable things that are being done to these children. So, we believe to a large extent that schools sometimes happen to be the safe haven for them. We have done the roster in which we ensure they keep social distance and we are monitoring,” he said.

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