Following the safe re-opening of schools in Lagos State, Disability-Inclusion Expert, Dr. Adebukola Adebayo has called on the government to put in place disability-sensitive COVID-19 protocols in schools across the state.
Dr. Adebayo stressed that the disability-sensitive COVID-19 protocols would ensure that
“Disability inclusion will result in a COVID-19 response and recovery that better serves everyone, more fully suppressing the virus, as well as building back better.
“It will provide for more agile systems capable of responding to complex situations and reaching the furthest behind first.”
Dr. Adebayo disclosed this while delivering a presentation at a one day Education Stakeholders’ forum on safe reopening of schools organised by Human Development Initiative, HDI, at Ikeja.
Dr. Adebayo stressed that it is important that children with disabilities are being taught how to practice and comply with the COVID-19 safety protocols while schools are being re-opened.
“It is important to sensitize CWDs on COVID-19 safety practices and processes such as hand washing, use of face masks, social and physical distancing, access to WASH facilities, sanitizing of mobility and assistive aids.”
He also noted that some CWDs might not be able to resume to school immediately and as such, the government need to “improve the accessibility of CWDs to assistive technologies to enhance participation in E-learning programs especially for CWDs who may not be able to resume school due to underlining health challenges
“While they stay at home, there would be need to provide support for their parents, families, educators and curriculum developers.
Responding, Mrs. Oredolapo Farogunsi, Director, Exams Unit, Basic Education Services, representing the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education explained that the state is working on staggered re-opening of schools to ensure that
“Before re-opening, all schools were fumigated and we ensured that all the COVID-19 safety requirements were put in place.
“Spacing of seats were done to permit physical distancing.
“All hands were on deck to ensure that the children’s safety is ensured without endangering the lives of teachers and all stakeholders either,” Farogunsi added.
She also noted that the Education Quality Assurance is on ground to monitor the compliance in schools; public and private, across the state.
Earlier, Mr. Samuel Ajayi, Programme Officer, HDI explained that the stakeholders’ forum is part of HDI’s contribution to ensuring safe re-opening of schools across the state and “to examine the school reopening plan of the Lagos State government and identify opportunities to improve this plan in the interest of girls, the marginalised and children with disabilities.”
He said, “we are willing to contribute our quota to strengthening existing plans for safe school reopening as part of our core mandate to promote sustainable, quality, equitable, inclusive, and resilient publicly funded education in Lagos State for all children especially girls, the marginalized and children with disabilities.