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US: Nearly 280,000 school-aged children have contracted COVID-19 – CDC reveals

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At least 280,000 school-aged children were infected with the novel coronavirus between March 1 and September 19, detailed data released on Monday in a report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed 

The figure, as gathered accounted for roughly four per cent of the total US caseload over this period, with children aged 12-17 approximately twice as likely to be infected as those aged 5-11.

The rate of new cases rose steadily during the spring and then shot up over the summer, peaking on July 19 with an average weekly incidence of 37.9 per 100,000.

The new cases then plateaued for several weeks before declining in late August — though it appears they are now rising again towards summer levels.

The authors wrote that the data helped establish a baseline for monitoring trends of Covid-19 infection as some schools return to in-person learning now and in the coming months.

“School studies suggest that in-person learning can be safe in communities with low SARS-CoV-2 transmission rates, but might increase transmission risk in communities where transmission is already high,” they said.

The report provides more data for trends that were already known, such as that Hispanic and black minority groups are at heightened risk of developing severe Covid-19, as are children with underlying conditions.

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Overall, 277,285 children were infected, 3,240 hospitalized (or 1.2 percent); 404 admitted to intensive care (0.1 percent); and 51 died (0.01 percent).

The real rates of hospitalization, intensive care admission and death are likely to be even lower in reality because the actual number of children infected was probably far higher and not recorded, given the number of asymptomatic cases.

Though the risk to children is relatively low, health experts are more worried about the onward transmission risk children could present to their parents or grandparents.

Children in the 5-11 group accounted for 101,503 cases and 20 deaths while those in the 12–17 group accounted for 175,782 cases and 31 deaths.

Chronic lung disease — which includes asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), for example — was the most prevalent underlying condition.

The rates of infection varied greatly from region to region and the authors emphasized that local authorities should closely monitor the situation to arrive at the best decision about in-person learning.

AFP

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Education

‘UI may admit more students as hostels increase’- Acting VC hints

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University of Ibadan Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adebola Ekanola has hinted that the institution may admit more undergraduate students than it is currently doing with the establishment of more private hostels on campus.

The Vice Chancellor, who spoke at the groundbreaking and foundations laying ceremony of a private Hostel located at Ajibode, called Jad Hostel, being established by Hyperch O. A. Limited, explained that accommodation was a primary consideration in admitting students in UI, ‘as the university believes that every fresh and final year student must be accommodated on campus’.

According to him, “ now that we have private hostels springing up in UI under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, UI may admit more undergraduate students as private hostels provide additional accommodation for our students’.

Ekanola, who disclosed that provision of accommodation on campus was one of the challenges facing UI, expressed delight that private investors were coming to play key role in this regard, stressing that ‘this is a clear manifestation of an ideal relationship between town and gown’.

While commending the Chairman of Jad hostel, who is also an alumnus of the university, Mr. Yemi Abei for his bold step, the VC noted that if the ex-student had left UI with terrible experiences, he would probably not have bothered to come back to invest in his alma mater, congratulating him on his measure of success.

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Speaking earlier, the Chairman of Hyperch O. A. Ltd, Mr. Yemi Abei had lauded UI for implementing PPP policy which he said encouraged private investors to put their money in the education sector, pointing out that many universities in the country have yet to follow UI’s model.

“We are here to establish a 200 roomed world-class Hostel that the students will really enjoy. I finished from UI and I want to leverage my past experience to put in place a student-friendly hostel that will give value for money”, he said.

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Education

LAUTECH ownership: Oyo to pay N8 billion to Osun in 3 years as asset sharing agreement

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Oyo state government has approved the payment of the sum of N8 billion to Osun State government as an asset sharing agreement, a follow-up to the earlier agreement reached between Oyo and Osun state governments on the ownership of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH).

The approval, which was conveyed  by the Commissioner for Education, Barrister Olasunkanmi Olaleye, would be paid in three installments spread over a period of three years.

According to a statement signed by Taiwo Adisa, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, on Tuesday, the Commissioner  for Education,  Olaleye disclosed this while briefing journalists shortly after the Executive Council meeting held at the Governor’s Office.

“As a follow-up to the agreement reached with the Osun State government on the issue of sole ownership of LAUTECH, the Executive Council of Oyo State approved today the payment of the sum of N8 billion to Osun State government. It will be paid over a period of three years.

“The breakdown of the payment goes as follows: one (1) billion Naira will be paid in January 2021 and another one (1) billion Naira will be paid in December 2021. Three (3) billion Naira will be paid in 2022 and the last three (3) will be paid in 2023. This was the decision of the council today”, the commissioner explained.

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School Resumption Remains January 18th – FG Insists

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Despite fears over the surge in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, the federal government has insisted that the January 18th resumption date for schools in the country remains intact.

The Federal Ministry of Education, in a statement issued on Thursday by its Director, Press and Public Relations, Ben Bem Goong submitted, “After extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders, including State Governors, Commissioners of Education, Proprietors and heads of institutions, staff unions and students, the consensus of opinion is that the resumption date of 18th January should remain”.

Meanwhile, the Ministry explained that all schools and parents must ensure strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols such as wearing of face masks, social distancing among others. 

The ministry continued,  “These measures which are to ensure safe reopening of schools for academic activities will be subject to constant review as we urge teachers, school administrators and other stakeholders to ensure strict compliance”.

It will be recalled that earlier in the week, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 had hinted that it would review the resumption date (January 18th, 2020) for learning institutions in the country, citing the rising COVID-19 infections in Africa’s most populous nation. 

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