Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun has directed that all Government Laboratories carry out test for returning SS3 boarding students at no cost.

Governor Abiodun said this today after consultation with stakeholders in the State’s Health sector.

“After reviewing these developments, I have today immediately directed that the Government Laboratories carry out test for all returning SS3 boarding students at no cost. I have also directed that all those who have paid for tests be refunded”.

Governor Abiodun admitted that the State has been apprehensive about the issue of school reopening based on the 25,000 fee students were told to pay.

“State has been very apprehensive about the issue of school opening even for exit students. Data from other countries, where schools have resumed show that community transmission in school environments is a major concern. Even countries with strongerhealth care facilities than ours are being very cautious”.

“In line with the Federal Ministry of Education recommendation and WASSCE timetable, we decided to open our schools on the 4thAugust 2020 for SS3 students only. We put in place guidelines that would ensure that our students resume in a safe environment”.

After consultations with health professionals, Governor Abiodun said the State concluded that testing the children for COVID-19 before admittance will reduce the risk of community transmission. This, he said is to reassure parents and even teachers of the safety of everybody concerned.

Abiodun further said the State Government planned and provided testing, free of charge, for boarding students in our public schools and allowed for the management and parents of private schools to make their arrangements to get COVID tests.

He revealed that Ogun State runs two laboratories, which have capacity for about 500 tests a day and conduct free tests for traced contacts or symptomatic patients.

The Governor also said to meet the additional demand for the expected number of boarding students, the statement from the Ogun State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology listed some private test centers which set up sampling points in some of our Health facilities.

“These private laboratories have been accredited by NCDC and Lagos State Government for walk-in tests and charge N50,400 per test but I understand that the Ministries of Health and Education negotiated this to N25,000 for boarding students in private schools that may wish to use them. There is no financial benefit to the State Government”, he said.

“The health of our children remains our utmost priority, however in view of the total number of boarding students to be tested (5,340 private 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 resumption or even exams which commence on 17th August 2020”.

Consequently, the State Government has stepped down the COVID-19 test as a mandatory requirement for returning students in our exit classes.

He said, “We therefore enjoin Private School owners to exercise their duty of care to their pupils. The admittance of students into boarding house in private secondary schools will be at the discretion of the management and the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of such private schools”.

He therefore recommended that students who do not have to stay in the boarding house to attend school from home, especially those with underlying health conditions.

Gov. Abiodun has also directed the provision of face masks to all students in both private and public schools.

“The inconvenience and confusion experienced yesterday is highly regrettable and my sincere apologies to the parents and students so affected”.

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