Some public secondary schools in Rivers have denied pupils, who failed to wear face masks, entrance to their premises following the resumption of schools across the state.
Some of the stranded students, however, said they felt uncomfortable putting on the masks and begged their school management to tolerate them.
It was observed following the directive of Governor Nyesom Wike, Rivers schools, excluding the primary level, shut down in March 2020 to contain the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, reopened for academic activities.
Most of the schools visited complied with the COVID-19 protocol stipulated by the government as a precondition for reopening.
Students observed some physical distancing in their sitting positions; wore face masks and were compelled to wash their hands in hand-washing facilities strategically located within the school premises.
A public secondary school, the Methodist Girls High School, Port Harcourt, refused to allow face mask defaulters into its premises with the school management vowing to strictly adhere to the protocol.
The Vice-Principal of the school, Sahr Gbamanja, insisted that the school was simply complying with the Coronavirus preventive directives issued by the government.
He said: “This morning when the students resumed, we were at the gate checking them to know whether they were putting on their face masks or not and those not wearing their face masks were sent back home and only students with proper face masks were allowed in.
“We ensured that all our teachers including myself use face masks, just as we have ensured that soap, water, hand sanitisers and infrared thermometer are all in place for teachers and students. We are doing all of these for the safety of our students.”
But one of the defaulting students said she could not wear the face mask because it made him uncomfortable adding that it made her look like a criminal hiding from the police.
While distributing non-pharmaceutical and safety materials to 500 schools at the weekend, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku, said the state was committed to the fight against the pandemic.
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