The Ogun state government has stepped down its stand which held that the COVID-19 test is to be used as a mandatory requirement for returning students in exit classes.
Governor Dapo Abiodun announced the cancellation of the initial injunction via a Twitter statement on Monday.
In his communique which was titled “Ogun Makes COVID-19 Test Free For All Returning SS3 Boarding Students”, Governor Abiodun further stated that the admittance of students into boarding houses in private secondary schools will be at the discretion of the management and the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of such private schools.
Parents of pupils in private secondary schools in Ogun had protested over the request of N25,000 COVID-19 test fee by the government, but the governor has assured that the test will now be carried out free of charge for all returning students.
The Governor’s statement read in part: “
In our pre-opening engagements with stakeholders, opening of boarding houses was discussed. Our State has one of the largest population of boarding students in the country, coming from all over the Country. After consultations with health professionals, we concluded that testing the children for COVID-19 before admittance will reduce the risk of community transmission. This is to reassure parents and even teachers of the safety of everybody concerned.
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.
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.”