The Ondo State government has approved the partial reopening of schools as well as religious houses including churches and mosques in the state.
This was disclosed on Wednesday in Akure by the Chairman of the State Interministerial Committee on COVID-19, Prof Adesegun Fatusi.
According to the guidelines released by the state government, students in Junior Secondary Schools JSS3 will resume on September 14 to enable them to prepare for their certification examination.
The resumption date for other students will be communicated in due course after further review of the situation, Fatusi noted.
The Chairman explained that full COVID-19 protocols must be observed by the schools as the students resume.
He said: “The state is actively monitoring preparations regarding the provision of adequate logistics for COVID-19 prevention for all primary schools, and the announcement regarding the date of resumption will be made at an appropriate date.
“The Junior Secondary School (JSS) 3 students will resume according to the following schedule while the date for resumption of other classes shall be announced at an appropriate future date.
“Between September 7th and 13th, preparation by schools to receive students with provisions that meet with the public health guidelines against COVID-19 and monitoring of schools’ preparations by relevant government agencies and teams.
“September 14 to 18 will be for revision for students in schools while examination commences on September 19 till October 4”
For religious centres and activities in the state, Fatusi said the government has approved churches and mosques to hold their activities any day of the week, but not between the hours of 10.00 pm and 4.00 am.
He added that such programmes must not exceed three hours per time and full COVID-19 protocols must be observed. However, vigils are totally prohibited for now.
He said: “The duration for any indoor religious service must not be more than two hours on any occasion, and all public health guidelines for the prevention of COVID-19 must be strictly adhered to on every occasion;
“Conventions or similar special programmes can hold for only three consecutive days at a time, but not between the hours of 10.00 pm and 4.00 am on any day.
“The maximum duration for such programmes must not exceed three hours on any single occasion, and all public health guidelines for the prevention of COVID-19 must be strictly adhered to on every occasion.
“Permission needs to be sought only in cases where some exceptions to the above-stated provisions are needed. Such applications should be directed to the office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health/Ag. Commissioner for Health for written approval.
“Vigils are totally prohibited until further notice while special outdoor religious programmes that may involve the mass gathering of people such as crusades are still prohibited until further notice.”
Speaking further, the chairman explained that not more than 50% of the church/mosque building must be filled up during any programme.
“Not more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the building of the church, mosque or any other religious body must be filled during any programme; while all participants in any church, mosque or any other religious group’s activities must adhere strictly to the use of face masks.
“They must wash hands under running water or use hands sanitiser before entering the venue of the religious programme and maintain an adequate social distance of at least two metres or six feet.
“All churches, mosques and other religious bodies must have a dedicated enforcement team in place to continuously monitor and ensure strict adherence to the COVID-19 prevention guidelines throughout each service or programme.”