The Ogun State Government on Monday cancelled the proposed N25,000 payment for coronavirus test for final year secondary school students.

The government also said the test will no longer be compulsory for the JSS3 and SS3 students.

Governor Dapo Abiodun said this following protest by parents against the introduction of the policy, which asked students to make the payment and present medical certificate of the test before their wards would be allowed in school hostels.

In a statement, Mr Abiodun apologised to parents and students for “the inconvenience and confusion”.

Read the governor’s statement:

“In line with the Federal Ministry of Education recommendation and WASSCE timetable, we decided to open our schools on the 4thAugust 2020 for SS3 students only. We put in place guidelines that would ensure that our students resume in a safe environment.

“In our pre-opening engagements with stakeholders, opening of boarding houses was discussed. Our State has one of the largest population of boarding students in the country, coming from all over the country. After consultations with health professionals, we concluded that testing the children for COVID-19 before admittance will reduce the risk of community transmission. This is to reassure parents and even teachers of the safety of everybody concerned.

“The State planned and provided testing, free of charge, for boarding students in our public schools and allowed for the management and parents of private schools to make their arrangements to get COVID tests. The two Ogun State run laboratories have a capacity for about 500 tests a day and conduct free tests for traced contacts or symptomatic patients. To meet the additional demand for the expected number of boarding students, the statement from the Ogun State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology listed some private test centers which set up sampling points in some of our Health facilities.

“These private laboratories have been accredited by NCDC and Lagos State Government for walk-in tests and charge N50,400 per test but I understand that the Ministries of Health and Education negotiated this to N25,000 for boarding students in private schools that may wish to use them. There is no financial benefit to the State Government.

“After reviewing these developments, I have today immediately directed that the Government Laboratories carry out test for all returning SS3 boarding students at no cost. I have also directed that all those who have paid for tests be refunded.