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Ogun Bows To Pressure, Makes COVID-19 Free For Returning Students

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Ganiyat Ganiyu

The Ogun State Government on Monday announced that the COVID-19 test for returning students in the state would now be carried out at no cost.

The parents of returning students had on Sunday protested against the N25,000 per student charge for the test as the state government made it mandatory for returning boarding students.

However, a statement from Governor Dapo Abiodun on Monday assured parents that their wards would henceforth be treated at no cost.

According to him, the State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology had earlier liaised with some private test centres at subsidised fee of N25,000 instead of N50,400 while tests remain free at the State walk-in centres.

The statement read in part, “The State planned and provided testing, free of charge, for boarding students in our public schools and allowed for the management and parents of private schools to make their arrangements to get COVID tests. The two Ogun State run laboratories have a capacity for about 500 tests a day and conduct free tests for traced contacts or symptomatic patients. To meet the additional demand for the expected number of boarding students, the statement from the Ogun State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology listed some private test centers which set up sampling points in some of our Health facilities.

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“These private laboratories have been accredited by NCDC and Lagos State Government for walk-in tests and charge N50,400 per test but I understand that the Ministries of Health and Education negotiated this to N25,000 for boarding students in private schools that may wish to use them. There is no financial benefit to the State Government.

“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 in view of the total number of boarding students to be tested (5,340private 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 Governor also announced that the state had stepped down COVID-19 test as mandatory requirement for returning students.

“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 house in private secondary schools will be at the discretion of the management and the Parents Teachers Association, PTA, 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.”

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