It is Unsafe to Reopen Universities Now, ASUU Warns, Propose online Classes

The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has warned against reopening of universities in the wake of the second wave of the COVID-19.

The Union inspected different schools in the country on Sunday before concluding that, although their members were ready to return to the classroom, there are no measures put in place by the Government to protect the staff and students.

The Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC), had announced that higher institutions can reopen on the 18th if they adhere to strict COVID-19 measures in class and in the hostel.

However, following the recent increase of COVID-19 cases in the country, totalling 99, 063 and 1, 350 deaths, ASUU are beginning to think that reopening the schools at this time won’t be the best idea.

On his part, the ASUU Chairman of Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State, Dr. Adeola Egbedokun said it won’t be wise to play with the lives of students and teachers.

He said, “COVID-19 is very real and this second wave is as real as described. We cannot afford to toy with our health and our dear students’ health in the name of resumption, which is politically motivated.”

“There are no preparations for safe re-opening of the universities and I think parents must insist on safe re-opening. The current classroom and hostel configurations in our universities do not in any way conform with the PTF (Presidential Task Force) on COVID-19 protocols. There is no way universities can achieve that. I have said this elsewhere, that rather than for the government to have addressed the obvious deficits in the public universities during the lockdown and strike, they were playing to the gallery.”

Meanwhile, the ASUU Chairman at Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Dr. Adebayo Oni, in a chat with newsmen, proposed a mixed session of both physical and online learning, as the solution.

“The lectures halls are overcrowded. As of today, in my campus, I have not seen any facility for hand washing Who is to provide sanitisers? Do you expect lecturers to provide sanitisers for themselves? Fumigation of the environment from time to time should be done. How do you cope with students’ surge and the challenge of power supply?”

“The truth of the matter is that we now propose a mixed model of online teaching and probably some level of physical instructions. Even online teaching also comes with its facilities which are not readily available.”

“We don’t want to be pessimistic to say that it is not workable. However, it will be at the risk of our lives and our students’ lives if the government’s required facilities are not provided. The truth is that the facilities to cope with the pandemic are not available in our institutions. It appears the government is not ready and our institutions are not helpful.”


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