President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR

School reopening without adherence to COVID-19 protocols dangerous, ASUU warns

*Throwing schools open without essential provisions in place is an open invitation to tragic explosion of COVID-19 scourge, says Prof. Ayo Akinwole, Chairman of ASUU, Ibadan Chapter

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As Nigeria prepares to re-open institutions of learning from September 2020, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ibadan (UI) Chapter, again, has warned authorities against the reopening of schools without provisions for schools to meet novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) precautionary guidelines.

Prof. Ayo Akinwole, Chairman of ASUU, Ibadan Chapter, in a statement Sunday, September 6 said this in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Akinwole maintained that the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on schools could be massive if responsibility was not taken to ensure safety of the teachers and students in the various learning environments.

The don warned that no pecuniary gains would be more than the lives of lecturers and their students.

According to him, before COVID-19 pandemic, public universities were overcrowded with students and hostel facilities took more than its capacity.

The ASUU Chairman warned parents and guardians to not jubilate at the news of a possible reopening of schools yet.

Instead, he stated that they should ask the government to put measures in place in order not to have a surge in COVID-19 cases that might happen as a result of ill-thought-out reopening.

The professor said: “What we are simply saying is that the Federal Government should adhere to their own set guidelines.

“Our position, as a responsible union in all these is that, throwing schools open in the midst of all these, is an open invitation to the tragic explosion of the COVID-19 scourge on a scale never witnessed anywhere since its outbreak.”

The union is aware that there have been agitations from some quarters for the government to reopen schools, he noted.

He said that those leading the campaign are the proprietors of private universities.

Akinwole stated: “ASUU is not in any way opposed to this call.

“However, Nigerians should honestly interrogate this position. Has the Nigerian government met the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) criteria on COVID – 19 protocols in our institutions?

“COVID-19 pandemic is still very much with us. It is in recognition of this fact that the government itself has rolled out certain conditions to be met before schools are reopened.”

How many of our public institutions can confidently vouch for the safety of our children given the available facilities such as provision of running water for hand washing; social distancing among students? He asked.

According to him, others to include the use of recommended nose masks and shields, saying, which are key components of NCDC protocols?

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