At last, the parents, teachers and students of Queens College Lagos can heave sighs of relief as the School reopens next weekend on the advice of Lagos State government to continue with academics.
The reopening of the College follows the declaration by Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris that its management “has successfully met all the requirements given it to make the School environment fit for the students to study and live”.
According to Dr Idris, the school authority in collaboration with the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), Old Girls Association (QCOGA) and the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) has successfully addressed identified areas of lapses by instituting various control measures.
He listed the control measures to include; decommissioning of the multiple contaminated water sources, deployment of a single water source with water treatment, renovation of the dining hall, decontamination of the hostels and overhauling of the sewage system and clearance of the septic tanks.
He however said, the periodic testing and retesting of water sources will still go on in line with international best practices.
Following the declaration, the School Based Management Committee (SBMC) has issued a statement to all parents and students informing them of the resumption arrangement between Saturday April 29 and Sunday, April 30.
According to the statement, all Senior Students are to return to School on Saturday, April 29 while Junior students are expected in the hostel on Sunday, April 30.
The School Management has also asked parents of SS3 students to pay only third term fees of N30, 500 only and jettison payment for extension of classes while parents of JS3 students are to pay extension fees of N20, 000 0nly and jettison payment of third term fee of N30, 500.
Unfortunately, as the school reopens on Saturday, the memory of three students, Vivian Osuiyi, Bithia Otulua and Praise Sodipo, orphan, who lost their lives to the water crisis that shook the fabrics of the school would be all that will linger.
Another Student, Favour Uwamanua JS3, who lost the battle to kidney related complications during the time will also not resume studies with her peers.
Indeed, it has been nearly 70 days of trauma for all students, staff and parents of the School who gathered together last Tuesday to hold a prayer session on the School compound for the repose of the souls of all the departed and to ask God to end any such calamity in the School.
Speaking to Healthstyleplus Online in separate interviews, Chairman, School Based Management Committee, (SBMC) Alahji Azeez Amusat and Chairman, Parents Teachers Association (PTA), Sir John Ofobike both said, “Never again would our Queens College experience such a calamity as it went through in the last three to four months”.
According to Ofobike, “Everyone who is a stakeholder in the School including Federal Ministry of Education I believe, have all learnt their lessons and whatever hitherto was taken for granted especially in the area of water treatment and healthcare as well as hygiene have all been taken care of and we pray never again would we experience such a calamity in the College”, said Ofobike.
Ofobike assured that the PTA will now be more involved in the welfare of the students “Such that we wont involve ourselves in unprofitable ventures but programmes that would benefit the wellbeing of our children”.
Also, Alhaji Amusat told our Correspondent, “In preparing for the return of the students at the weekend, we have been able to put in place a number of programmes for the safety of the students.
“One of such programmes is the School health programme in which we have provided for a standby doctor to take charge of the school environment and to ensure that students are immunised as at when due.
“The doctor will carry out regular check-up of food handlers and the inspection of all the food preparing environment ; not only that, the doctor will oversee the regular cleaning of the sewage system, water tanks and to ensure that the right chemicals are used in water treatment”, Amusat said.
He added that the School Management Committee towards ensuring the success of the new health programme has employed the services of a professional company to handle the general cleaning of the College on daily basis.
Amusat said also that a proposal has been sent to the Ministry of Education with the expectation that the Ministry will commit financial support to the new plan.
“However, the PTA of Queens College will pick the bill until when we have a clear cut directive from the ministry”, added Amusat.
He urged parents to ensure that their wards return to School with their insecticide treated mosquito nets as required by School authority.
On the affected kitchen staff who were previously treated, four out of twenty five are still undergoing further treatment because they are still harbouring some of the water bacteria, said Idris
According to Amusat, “The four affected kitchen staff have been told to stay away from the school until they are declared fit and healthy by the ministry of education which is responsible for their treatment”.