The Ogun government has cancelled COVID-19 test as a requirement for returning students in the exit class of Senior Secondary schools in the state.
Gov. Dapo Abiodun announced the reversal in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abeokuta on Monday.
The government had on Sunday, through Mrs Ronke Soyombo, Special Assistant to the governor on Education, directed schools in the state to reopen for students in the SS3 classes on Tuesday.
It had also insisted that the returning students must have COVID-19 test before being admitted into the schools.
The government listed specific laboratory centres for the test which costs N50,000.
It announced a 100 per cent subsidy for students in public schools and 50 per cent subsidy for students in the private schools.
Abiodun on Monday, however, reversed the decision and stepped down the COVID-19 test as a mandatory requirement for the returning students .
The governor noted that the state had the highest number of secondary schools in the country with a total of 5,340 boarding students in private schools and 500 boarding students in public schools.
“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.
“The health of our children remains our utmost priority.
“However, we have a total number of 5,340 boarding students in our private schools and 500 boarding students in our public schools.
“Our COVID-19 testing laboratory has an installed testing capacity of 500 tests per day.
“It may not, therefore, be feasible for all boarding students to get tested and get their results prior to resumption or even examinations which commences on August 17.
“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 fulfil 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.
” We recommend 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 for all students in both private and public schools.
“The inconvenience and confusion experienced on Sunday is highly regrettable and my sincere apologies to the parents and students so affected.
“The quality and standard of education and well being of our children are issues that are very dear to my heart.
“I appreciate the cooperation, support, resilience and understanding of all the people of Ogun State towards flattening the curve of COVID-19 in Ogun State.
“It is my prayer that this phase will end soonest,” he said.