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Covid-19: ASUU Warns Against Reopening of Schools

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Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday kicked against the reopening of schools by the Federal Government due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU National President, said the Federal Government needed to address the challenges of the education sector before it can talk of reopening schools.

Ogunyemi said the Federal Government ought to provide an ideal environment and should take the lead by meeting the conditions spelt out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) before reopening the schools.

“The Federal Government must lead and show the ways by meeting the conditions for reopening of schools before any school can be allowed to open, because COVID-19 pandemic is a health challenge.

“When it comes to public health, it is something that should not be left in the hands of individual, but the Federal Government must take the lead,’’ he said.

The ASUU president listed the conditions spelt out by NCDC to include: provision of materials for regular washing of hands, face mask, isolation centres, space for social distancing and hands sanitizer.

Ogunyemi said that many of the schools do not have financial capacities to meet those conditions and requirements for reopening of schools.

“It is suicidal to reopen schools now, if the Federal Government itself could not meet the conditions spelt out by NCDC and World Health Organisation (WHO).

“The nation will expose the innocent children to risks which is avoidable,” he said.

Ogunyemi noted that how many of these schools could afford to provide hand sanitizers, saying that many of them do not even have running water, not to talk of having facility for washing hands.

He added that many schools do not have enough spaces to promote physical distancing.

The ASUU president said that putting all these requirements needed together, to reopen schools in the country now would run into millions of Naira, which most schools could not afford.

Ogunyemi appealed to the Federal Government to provide the running funds for the principals and head teachers so that they could provide some of these facilities in their schools.

He further said that inadequate funds by many parents would hinder them from providing some of these amenities needed for reopening of schools.

Ogunyemi said that the Federal Government needed to tell Nigerians the steps they intended to take in reopening schools.

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