As schools across Oyo State resumed fully on Monday, after about six months of school closure as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, parents of students in both public and private schools have lamented the inconvenience associated with staggered classes especially for parents who are not business owners and do not have flexible work hours.
Parents that Tribune Online spoke with in local governments across Ibadan stated that while they were happy that schools have opened, they were not comfortable with staggered classes especially the noon classes which expose their children to numerous risks.
They were of the opinion that the government should allow everyone to attend school in the morning and reduce the period they spend in schools.
Speaking on the issue, Mrs Tolu Ogunrinola, a teacher in a private school in Lagelu Local Government Area of the state, explained that she does not know how to cope as her two children do not fall into the same time range for classes and she also has to go to work at a different school as a teacher.
“I don’t know what to do; I am a teacher, will I leave my work to pick the little one at 11 am? Where will I keep her when I also have to go back to work and where will the elder one be in the morning? We are going to expose these children to more risks because we will be keeping them with people we may not even trust just to comply with government instructions.
“Then for those that have to go to school at noon, what will their concentration be like? They would have played all morning and will not be well disposed to learning. Most teachers will have issues with children coming to learn at noon because this is the era of distraction and with parents away at work, there’s no one to monitor many children,” she stated.
Mr Ade Ogunyale said while schooOpepening was good, the manner the classes were broken down was a source of headache because, on most days, his children won’t be able to go to school.
“Today, I have not done anything productive since morning because my three children have to go to school at different times. The eldest that can stay with them is on noon classes, their mother cannot get away from work. How many days will I leave my economic activities to follow this schedule? The government should allow normal school for all with reduced timing,” he stated.
Mrs Rachael Omidiji was bitter in her reaction. “This school opening which should make us happy is already giving us problems. I already had issues with my boss today just because I was shunting in and out of the office to do school runs and also check my children who I left in the car at the car park.
“Are these children safe at all? No, they are more at risk than when they are locked up in school. I saw many public school students walking about before noon when they are expected to have classes; they have been given the liberty to roam. I can tell you they are more exposed to COVID-19, rape, kidnap and all sorts of criminality than when they are being monitored in schools by teachers.
“Even private school pupils whose parents don’t have time are seen outside the gate in some schools, this is riskier, as a parent, I am unhappy and stressed,” she said.