The Ogun state government Monday evening rescinded its decision to charge N25,000 levy on boarding students in private schools for a compulsory COVID-19 test.
The state government had last Saturday mandated each boarding student in private schools to undergo a test as a precondition for resumption into school, insisting that only students certified free of COVID-19 will be allowed into the school premises.
But the parents were shocked when some of them took their wards to the government-accredited laboratory for the test on Sunday, only to be asked to pay the sum of N25,000 for the test.
The parents became agitated and staged a protest against what they called monetisation of the test.
However, governor Dapo Abiodun in a statement he personally signed, disclosed that he had directed the government-owned laboratories to carry out the test for all returning SS3 boarding students free of charge.
The governor also directed that those who had already paid for the tests be refunded their money.
He said, “After reviewing these developments, I have today immediately directed that the government laboratories carry out a 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 (5,340 private 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 August 17, 2020.
“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 houses in private secondary schools will be at the discretion of the management and the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of such private schools.
“The 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.
“I have also directed the provision of face masks to all students in both private and public schools.
“The inconvenience and confusion experienced yesterday (Sunday) is highly regrettable and my sincere apologies to the parents and students so affected.
“The quality and standard of education and well being of our children are issues that are very dear to my heart,” the governor affirmed.