LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigeria will allow schools to reopen for pupils due to take graduation exams, a presidential aide said on Monday, reviving a plan dropped earlier this month due to rising cases of COVID-19. The West African country has reported 40,532 coronavirus infections including 858 deaths and the number of deaths has jumped from 460 since the schools plan was postponed on July 9. But in the last few weeks domestic flights have resumed and a ban on interstate travel was lifted as authorities relax restrictions to open up the economy. “The federal government orders the re-opening schools for secondary school students in exit classes on August 4, 2020,” Bashir Ahmad, a presidential aide, tweeted. In the message, he said the move was made ahead of the start of the West African Examinations (WAEC) – a region-wide test for graduation from secondary school – on Aug. 17. A ministry of education statement included in the tweet said students would have two weeks to prepare for the exams. It said the decision was taken to reopen for students in “exit classes” following a meeting between the ministry, education officials from all 36 states and the Nigerian Union of Teachers. Pupils aged 14 and above typically sit the exams in Nigeria. “On schools & #COVID19: there are no easy decisions,” said Chikwe Ihekweazu, director general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, in a tweet that linked to the ministry of education statement. Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram; Additional reporting by Angela Ukomadu; editing by Philippa Fletcher
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