The Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Cross River State, on Monday cautioned the state government against reopening of three secondary schools in three Senatorial Districts of the state from June 16.
The women medical personnel warned that the possibility of testing of students of the selected schools in the event of occurrence of symptoms is not feasible due to absence of any testing laboratory in the state.
In a statement signed by Bassey Nakanda and Angella Imoke, president and secretary of the association, the association said the decision to reopen the schools by the state government even with the zero COVID-19 status of the state was untimely in the face of ongoing community transmission of the disease across the country.
According to the statement, the association said its reservation was borne out of the desire to ensure the safety of the lives of children, especially, with the lack of evidence to support the actual disease burden in the state due to low testing rates.
The association said it has noticed the increase in the number of patients presenting with flu-like symptoms and loss of smell/taste in various hospitals in the state.
This, it argued may indicate a possibility of community transmission of the disease, which calls for caution in order to forestall disease outbreak in the state.
The MWAN said it has also observed that with the zero COVID-19 status of the state, adherence to preventive and protective measures have been relaxed by most citizens of the state, thus exposing people to the risk of recording cases in the state.
It added that there has been ongoing subtle interstate movement, noting that the possibility of transmission of COVID-19 is still very high as infection curve is still on the rise and yet to peak.
While commending the efforts of the state government in the fight against the disease, it advocated for upscaling of the testing and reinforcement of preventive strategies.
The association therefore suggested the option daily educational programmes on radio and television.
”As mothers and caregivers, we are concerned about the educational pursuit of our wards, but we are even more concerned about their health and well-being, we therefore appeal to the state government to review her decision on reopening public schools in the state at this critical period, for the interest of our children who are the future leaders of cross river and the nation at large,” the statement read.
The Cross River State Government had on June 11 said a “trial resumption of schools” would commence on June 16.
Godwin Amanke, the State Commissioner for Education, in a statement, said, “Students will wear face masks and face shields to school.”
Once at the school gate, Amanke said the children will wash their hands and legs.
“Hand sanitisers will also be used. When the children enter their classrooms, they will remove their face masks and use only their face shields so as to get enough ventilation,” the Commissioner said.