The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ibadan Chapter, has warned against the reopening of schools without provisions for schools to meet COVID-19 precautionary guidelines.
Its chairman, Prof. Ayo Akinwole, stated this in a release he made available to newsmen in Ibadan on Sunday. Akinwole stated that the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on schools could be enormous if responsibility was not taken to ensure safety.
He warned that no pecuniary gains would be more than the lives of lecturers and their students. Akinwole noted that before COVID-19 pandemic, public varsities were overcrowded with students and hostel facilities took more than its capacity. He then warned parents not to jubilate at the news of a possible reopening of schools.
However, they should ask the government to put measures in place so as not to have a surge in COVID-19 that might happen as a result of ill-thought-out reopening, he 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.”
He said that the union was aware that there had been agitations from some quarters for the government to reopen schools. He said that those leading the campaign are the proprietors of private universities. He said, “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.”
According to the ASUU chairman, 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 handwashing; social distancing among students. He listed others to include: the use of recommended face masks and shields, which are key components of NCDC protocols?