The issue of what the school resumption date should be was initiated due to the aftermath of the "introduction" of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) to Nigeria by the Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer has caused some arguments among parents.
The Federal Government ordered that schools be reopened on September 22. This decision is backed by the Ministry of Health. Despite all official reassurances, many Nigerian parents, teachers, lawmakers and health workers are still unconvinced and demand to further postpone the day of school resumption.
Legit.ng has received a letter from Michelle Dubem-Nwachukwu, a resident of Port Harcourt. In her message, she says parents in PH are not happy with the government’s decision for schools to resume earlier than it has been initially planned.
Recall that the government had announced September 22 as the new and final school resumption date, instead of previously considered October 13. Ms. Dubem-Nwachukwu urges Nigerians to "exercise our rights as parents to keep back our children at home until at least the first or second week in October when all surveillance cases have been cleared. … It is alarming to think the magnitude of harm that could come to the nation if Ebola should break out in just one school!"
We have asked Legit.ng readers if they thought it is safe for our children to resume schools on September 22.
"Further postpone school resumption"
As expected, Nigerians have split into two more or less equal groups. Those who opposed the September 22 school resumption date faulted the "greedy" private schools owners and expressed doubts that all schools have been provided with the EVD-preventive equipment. Many have declared they were not going to send their children to school until the EVD scare is contained. This group of respondents also agreed that, since school resumption, all facilities should have trained medical staff to tend to the children.
Adetoun Onashile Olugbile said: "It's clear that some influential private school owners have lobbied government to rush the school resumption date because of their selfish interests. Our children must not be sacrificial lambs in whatever business the government and school owners are engaged in! Most of theses people have kids schooling abroad, so what is their business?
"Has Ebola been successfully contained? Have people stopped escaping from quarantine? Have all the contacts been successfully traced and put under surveillance? If schools open earlier than planned, can you honestly tell me that a school in Mushin/Nyanya/Kubwa/Lugbe is equipped with EVD-preventive measures? A school bus driver, or a cleaner in Victoria Island can get EVD from his child who schools in Mushin, and give it to the children in the VI School. This should not be a game of chance or greed. The lives of our children are at stake, so the government should do the right thing. Everyone is in this Ebola Fight! Do a rethink! May we not mourn our children."
Julie Ochum said: "Universities and polytechnics went on strike for months on end. When it was over, students resumed and continued from where they stopped. Nobody died or failed exams. If children stay at home until Ebola cases are all cleared, it will not kill them, nor will it make them dull. They, as well, will continue from where they had stopped. No parent should risk the lives of their children for the sake of rushing them to school."
Fadekemi Omotayo said: "As for me, even if they resume next month, my children will not go to school until next year. And that will not stop them from becoming doctors and lawyers in future. It's someone who is alive that can become leaders of tomorrow".
Kenneth Ozioma said: "As a teacher, I also post that the initial October date of school resumption should stand. Our lives and that of our kids are more important than knowledge. For those in authority: Please read! Consider! Act! Long live the Federal Republic."
Joy Sanni said: "I think the holiday should be extended. Also, every school should have at least two trained nurses. Imagine if one student brings the virus to a school. The classmates will also be infected. From there, it will spread to their parents at home. The parents will also carry it to their working places. The virus will begin to spread like that! So I think Jonathan should have a rethink about the resumption date, because we are the leaders of tomorrow."
"September 22 is OK for school resumption"
Those who "voted" in favour of the September 22 as the date of school resumption treated the arguments of of the previous group with a dose of skepticism. They noted that there are public places other than schools where kids could potentially contract the virus. Not supporting the FG's decision would mean spreading unnecessary panic and unreasonable mistrust in the FG's ability to deal with crises, Nigerians maintained.
Martins Temitayo Ilori said: "The best solution for the Federal govt is to close all schools (tertiary inclusive), offices, markets, banks, stores and shopping malls, churches, mosques, airports, dock yards, motor parks, and ban all forms of rallies and ceremonies. This is the only way we can curtail the spread of Ebola since both young and old make contacts through these places. Wait a minute! Please, don’t forget to close the National and State Assemblies, and restrict the movement of our politicians. Then compel WAEC & NECO to shift the date of their exams to next year for the number of months and years of the restrictions. God bless Nigeria!"
Olatutu Oluleye: "Schools are not the only places that Ebola can be contracted at. So don’t children go to markets, hospitals when they are ill. Forbid them to take public buses, even public toilets. Don’t forget many church members still hug and shake their neighbours’ hands as a way of welcoming them. Even Guinea, where the Ebola outbreak started and up to 600 people have died since February, didn’t close down their schools until July, when they could no longer control the epidemic. I support the Federal Government. Let the school resumption be on September 22. Pupils should be taught in their schools personal hygiene and how to prevent Ebola spread. If they stop pupils from resuming, couldn’t they still contract it elsewhere?"
Dairo Olawale said: "Let school resumption go as scheduled. The government is trying to curtail the EVD from spreading. Let's all take part in supporting the plan the govt has put in place, so that we don't play politics with the future of our children. I am also a father, and I am sending my ward to school when it opens."
What do you think of the scheduled school resumption day? What are the advantages and disadvantages of resuming school earlier, or later?
Has your family or friends been affected by the Ebola virus in any way? Email your experiences to email@example.com!