Ebola: No reason for schools not to reopen — Health Minister

Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu

The Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Friday said that there was no reason why schools should not reopen on September 22.

Mr. Chukwu said this at a media briefing in Lagos.

“It is for the commissioners of education to advise the principals, at least for public schools, as well as private schools on when they can reopen.

“The ministry of health is like what the weather people are to the nation. They will tell you that the weather will be sunny, stormy or there will be heavy downpour, but they can never directly, for example, stop any plane from flying.

“It is for the aviation people to take the advice and combine with other factors to decide whether flights will take off or not.

“So, I want to make it clear that from the technical point of view, there is absolutely no reason why any school, except if they have other problems that are not medical, cannot reopen,” he said.

The minister said the ministry had no objections to schools resuming September 22.

“So, when the minister of education, working with the commissioners of education, said they have revised the opening of schools from 13th Oct to 22nd of Sept., we have nothing against that.


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“If we did, we would have objected or let them know,’’ he said.

Mr. Chukwu said the resumption would also give opportunity for children to be taught about the Ebola Virus Disease.

“It will even give us opportunity to teach the children what EVD is all about.

“It is going to offer us opportunity to reinforce what we are already teaching their teachers because the teachers are going through programmes on how they should handle children who are sick.

“You notice that Nigeria has not closed any market, church, mosque and children follow their parents to these places.

“So it doesn’t simply make any sense yet to continue shutting down the schools,” he said.

Mr. Chukwu said that people should not relax even though EVD was being contained.

“Luckily, we are still winning. Schools have to reopen. But that doesn’t mean we should go to sleep.

“We know now that there is no place in Nigeria now that we are treating anyone for EVD, but we have not started celebrating yet for the simple reason that we have not yet won the war.

“We do not want surprises.

“No one for now has active EVD in Nigeria, but that is not to say that will be surprised if we have one tomorrow,” Mr. Chukwu said.


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