In line with the Ogun State Government’s directive that all students should resume in school, the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta International School (FUNIS) has reiterated its commitment towards the overall security and protection of students’ lives in the face of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Acting Principal, Mrs. Emily Okpete stated that FUNIS is readily prepared to welcome the students back to school, stressing that the needed facilities had been provided by the University Management.
According to her, “FUNIS is readily prepared as always because the protocols given for COVID-19 are nothing new to us as a school. Before now, the students have been taught all along to wash their hands at regular intervals and keep themselves clean and neat. However, the University has provided us with doctors and nurses from the University Health Services to check on the children on a daily basis for any sign of ill-health, while the boarding house masters and mistresses are always on ground to take charge of any emergency”. She noted that before now, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kolawole Salako had severally made provisions for fumigation to ensure that the school was clinically clean for the students to resume, adding that funds were also provided for the school to purchase ‘Veronica buckets’ for the washing of hands, which she said were placed at each class together with running water, hand wash soap and sanitizers.
Mrs. Okpete stated further that FUNIS was committed towards the continuous sensitising of students in order to keep them abreast of the COVID-19 rules, stressing that before COVID-19 became a global issue, the students had been sensitised on what to do. “We have already prepared a prototype of things that the students ought to know with the general information that they need to prepare themselves, to avail them of all the opportunity of understanding the COVID-19 rules. Meanwhile, when we did not really understand the full impact of COVID-19; we invited the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) officials from Abuja to come and sensitise the school and the children on COVID-19, the dangers therein and all that was needed to know. We also read the issues and kept on talking to the children as the situation was unfolding. While at home, the parents were also used as platforms to equally sensitise the children on the issue and as they resume, we plan on sensitising them continuously to make sure that they are aware of their environment”, she added.
The Acting Principal also disclosed that the school had started observing the social distancing rule, noting that the regular assembly would be observed with classes already divided into a maximum of 15 desks per class size while larger classes are made to use larger halls. She stressed that when the JSS3 and SS3 students are about resuming, chairs, beds and others were customised for each student, to ensure that the social distancing rule was duly observed, stressing that provisions had been put in place to ensure that the convenience rooms are not crowded. She added that some officers from the Ministry of Education, Zonal Education Office and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) had marked the school status as ‘safe for resumption’ following an inspection carried out by them. While describing the school as very considerate, the Acting Principal disclosed that there would not be any increase in school fees, stating that the current situation of the economy would not make it possible for the school to add more burden on parents.
She, however, appreciated the Vice-Chancellor and the University Management for their unwavering support, care and interest in FUNIS, noting that the Vice-Chancellor was always on ground to see to the preparedness of the school towards resumption by ensuring that all their needs were adequately provided for. She also lauded the teachers, parents and the Parents-Teacher Association (PTA) for their collaborative efforts towards ensuring that the students were well taken care of, stressing that the parents complied with the request to update the school with the health status of their children. She stressed that all had been cooperative, noting that they provided the students with the basic needs such as face masks, hand-washing soap, pocket size sanitizers and refill sanitizers, as stated in the general information given to them. Mrs. Okpete also revealed that admission into the JSS1 and SS1 classes was still ongoing for prospective students.