Attendance dropped significantly on Monday in most schools across the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as pupils resumed amidst the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
In schools observed by SaharaReporters in Kubwa, Maitama, Mpape and Zuba areas of the FCT, the schools opened but there was a significant drop in the number of pupils, as parents kept their children back at home for fear of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, some of the schools observed COVID-19 safety protocols as stipulated by the guidelines by the Nigerian government while others partially complied.
Some schools in Zuba also complained about water scarcity and the difficulty of having running water and basins for pupils to wash their hands in classrooms and at school entrances.
Some of the schools, which preferred not to have their names in print due to victimisation, agreed that they would not be able to sustain the COVID-19 safety guidelines without increasing school fees.
“How do we survive with all the health and safety gadgets you need to put in place in the school? You have to have a sick bay equipped with nurses, have an isolation room; build more classrooms for social distancing and all. The school fees also have to go up. Some of the parents when they were given their bills, literally asked their children to stop coming,” one of the headmistresses explained.
At the Local Education Authority Primary School, Kubwa, there were a few pupils and there was also no observance of the COVID-19 guidelines.
A teacher in the government school, who identified himself only as Mr Abdullahi, said the pupils would be assisted to observe the guidelines through the donation of face masks and hand washing materials for them, with “many of them coming from poor homes or no homes at all.”
The Head of a school on Arab Road, Kubwa, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the low turnout was due to the socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Oyo State, where schools had resumed since last Monday, teachers and pupils ignored COVID-19 protocols.
As of Monday morning, confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state stood at 4,695 while 573 persons were on admission and 4,054 had been discharged. Sixty-eight persons had died of the coronavirus in the state.
Still, the level of compliance in public schools has been poor in the state.
But it was observed that some private schools in Ibadan, the state capital, strictly complied with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) directives and also sent home pupils without face masks.
At Oba Akinbiyi Model School, a public school, the pupils and some of their teachers did not wear face masks.
Though there were buckets of water placed in the school compound of the building, pupils were not washing their hands
SaharaReporters also observed that most pupils and teachers of Islamic Model School, Basorun, Ibadan did not wear face masks to protect themselves, but few teachers did.
It was observed that pupils and teachers in Obaseku High School and Baptist Grammar School, both in Eruwa, did not comply with the COVID-19 protocolS.
SaharaReporters gathered that few teachers had been using face masks in Ogbomoso Baptist High School, while most of their pupils had not been wearing theirs.