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The Ogun State Government has announced the tentative resumption of religious and academic activities, which had been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Dapo Abiodun, in an address has directed schools to open on Monday August 3, 2020, while Churches and mosques are to reopen from August 14, 2020.

He announced that worship centres will tentatively reopen on August 14 on the condition that they adhere to the safety guidelines as approved by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The guidelines include: the use of facemasks and hand sanitizers, social distancing, and the provision of medical, toilet and hygiene facilities.

He noted that duration of services should not be more than an hour and a half, while intervals in the case of multiples should be of the same duration.

“Large worship centres (with more than 200 worshippers in a given service) to further pursue concurrence with the State Government Committee, towards ensuring ventilation and effective entry and exit management procedure and the avoidance of item sharing during Holy Communion,” he added.

For the Muslims he explained that worshippers should perform ablution at home and go to mosque with personal praying mats; certified medical personnel to check worshippers’ temperature before admittance to venues; handshakes, hugs and air conditioners to be avoided in all centres; provision of isolation rooms, as well as digital cameras to record services, in each centre.

Meanwhile , the governor, threatened  that defaulters of mandatory use of face masks now risk six months jail.

He said “Wearing of face masks in the public is now compulsory. Therefore, I hereby invoke powers conferred on me by Regulation 7 of the Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations No. 2 of 2020 (the Regulations), made pursuant to Section 33 of the Public Health Law of Ogun State (the Law), to mandate the compulsory wearing of face masks by all persons in public as part of measures to prevent the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).”

For the schools, the Governor said Risk Assessment Forms have been made available to public and private schools to evaluate the readiness for the adoption of the federal government’s declaration to allow SS3 students resume on August 4 to prepare for Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) which is to begin on August 17.

“A mandatory virtual training is also being organised for school staff on decontamination, medical equipment, toilet facilities, flexibility of closing times, and special requirements for boarding schools,” he said.

With this development Churches like The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Winners’ Chapel, Mountain of Fire and Miracles, Christ Apostolic Church and other Churches that have major centres in the state should be warming up for the reopening, while prominent institutions like the Covenant University, Mountain Top University owned by MFM, Crawford University of The Apostolic Faith Church and others would be warming up for the same exercise.

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Julius Adegunna, a writer, and publisher of good news and reports. He is also a trainer in Writing and Publishing, a Media Consultant and an Entrepreneur. A 1987 Graduate of International Relations of the University of Ife, (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) with Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, and Master in Communication Studies of Lagos State University. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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