Following an assessment of COVID-19 protocols in the universities the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said that the institutions are not ready for safe reopening.
ASUU’s position comes on the heels of the directive of the National Universities Commission that universities could resume on January 18, with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols in hostels and lecture halls.
According to ASUU, the government had not put measures in place for the safe reopening of the schools, even though its members were ready to start work.
The union’s concern comes on the backdrop of rising COVID-19 cases and deaths, which rose to 99,063 and 1,350 respectively on Saturday.
Dr Adeola Egbedokun, the Chairman of ASUU at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State, said classroom and hostel situations in universities did not in any way conform with COVID-19 protocols.
According to Egbedokun, no preparations had been made so far for the universities’ safe re-opening and urged parents to insist on safety before re-opening.
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.
ASUU at the Federal University of Agriculture (FUNAAB), Abeokuta, Ogun State, said the university was not ready to cope with COVID-19 challenges.
Dr Adebayo Oni, the Chairman of ASUU in FUNAAB, stated:
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?
Oni said the union had observed that conducting physical lectures with students would be more disastrous.
It is a threat to the resumption of academic activities.
The fact is that under this circumstance and looking at the threat of the figure, going physical with students would be more disastrous. Conducting physical sessions, physical lectures with students would be more disastrous.
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.