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FACT CHECK: Still no date on school reopening! Government disclaims media reporting

FACT CHECK: Still no date on school reopening! Government disclaims media reporting

By Qosim SuleimanCLAIM: Reports on various online platforms in Nigeria suggest that the Federal Government has ordered the reopening of schoolsVERDICT: Dr. Sani Aliyu, who was said to have ordered reopening of schools has denied. He only said "Educational Institutions should begin the process of working towards 'potentially' reopening within this phase". There is no fixed school resumption date.On Thursday evening, various online media platforms posted a report that suggests that the Federal Government has ordered full reopening of schools.Such stories can be found on NaijaNews, ThePunch, and TheCable among others. Most of them have headlines such as ‘FG approves full reopening of schools’, ‘FG okays full reopening of schools’, ‘Buhari Orders Schools To Reopen Fully Nationwide.’All these sources have credited the source of their news to the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, who spoke at a briefing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Thursday.However, this can be misleading for students who have been home for a long time and are eager to go back to school.Dr. Sani Aliyu’s Words“For educational institutions which include daycare, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Educational institutions should begin the process of working towards potentially reopening within this phase” Aliyu said.He added: “However, we strongly recommend that states conduct risk assessment to ensure all schools are at a level of compliance and create a monitoring mechanism to assess, create, and monitor this level of preparedness.He further said: “Meanwhile, all daycares and educational institutions are to remain closed to in-classes until this level of risk is assessed. And if there will be opening of schools, it must be staged and preferably carried out in phases to ensure that this does not pose a risk to the general public and in particular to vulnerable groups that might end up getting infected by students going back home.”VerificationWhen contacted through a text message, Dr. Aliyu denied ever ordering full reopening of schools. "No that's not true. We asked all sub nationals - that is States - to do a risk assessment and take a decision based on level of preparedness and Federal Ministry of Education guidelines," Dr. Aliyu said in a text message to Dubawa's enquiry.He added: "There won't be a single date for reopening, (it) will be phased out." The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, never gave orders for schools to reopen as reported by most online platforms.He said “Educational Institutions should begin the process of working towards potentially reopening within this phase”The word ‘potentially’ is an adverb that means: “possibly true in the future, but not true now”, according to Macmillan Dictionary.‘...remain closed to in-classes’Dr. Aliyu’s words further suggest that he did not order the reopening of schools.“Meanwhile, all daycares and educational institutions (which, according to him, include daycare, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions) are to remain closed to in-classes until this level of risk is assessed.”He added: “if there will be opening of schools, it must be staged and preferably carried out in phases to ensure that this does not pose a risk to the general public and in particular to vulnerable groups that might end up getting infected by students going back home.”ConclusionDr. Sani Aliyu, who was said to have ordered reopening oF schoolS has denied ever saying that. Instead, he said "Educational Institutions should begin the process of working towards 'potentially' reopening within this phase". There is no fixed time for school resumption yet.