Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has cancelled the mandatory COVID-19 test for returning pupils of exiting classes in the state.
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The government had announced that returning students must undergo COVID-19 test to certify them fit for resumption. It added that students of state-owned schools would be tested for free while private school students would pay N25,000.
The matter had generated outrage as parents complained of the hardship the fee would bring upon them especially in the face of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
However, in a statement on Monday, Abiodun apologised to the parents and revealed that all the students would have the tests free of charge. He added that those who have been paid will be refunded.
“After reviewing these developments, I have today immediately directed that the Government Laboratories carry out tests for all returning SS3 boarding students at no cost. I have also directed that all those who have paid for tests be refunded. 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,” the statement read.
“Consequently, the State Government has, therefore, stepped down the COVID-19 test as a mandatory requirement for returning students in our exit classes.
“We, therefore, enjoin Private School owners to exercise their duty of care to their pupils. The admittance of students into boarding houses in private secondary schools will be at the discretion of the management and the Parents Teachers Association of such private schools.
“Ogun State Government recommends that students who do not have to stay in the boarding house should attend school from home, especially those with underlying health conditions.
“I have also directed the provision of face masks to all students in both private and public schools.
“The inconvenience and confusion experienced yesterday are highly regrettable and my sincere apologies to the parents and students so affected.”