Coronavirus: Reopening schools now is suicidal, says academic staff union of universities

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday warned the Nigerian Government against reopening of schools in view of the ravaging coronavirus pandemic in the country

Penpushing reports that, the National President of the association, Prof  Biodun Ogunyemi, gave the warning while speaking  in Ota town of Ogun State, stressing that doing so now will amount to suicidal.

The union leader declared that the federal government needs to address the challenges of education sector before it can talk of reopening schools, as well as need to provide ideal environment and should take the lead by meeting the conditions spelt out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) before reopening 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.

Penpushing further reports that, Ogunyemi  listed the conditions spelt out by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)  to include: provision of materials for regular washing of hands, face mask, isolations centres, space for social distancing and hands sanitiser.

The union president pointed out that many of the schools do not have financial capacities to meet those conditions and requirements for reopening of schools,stressing that reopening schools now is suicidal.

“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.

Penpushing also reports that, Ogunyemi, expressed concerns on how many schools could afford to provide hand sanitisers, noting  that many of them do not even have running water, not to mention having facilities for washing hands.

The Professor added that many schools do not have enough spaces to promote physical distancing; emphasizing that putting all these requirements needed together, to reopen schools in the country now would run to millions of Naira, which most schools could not afford.

The National President equally emphasized that the the federal government should provide the running funds for the principals and head teachers so that they could provide some of these facilities in their schools.

Penpushing also reports that, he further stated that inadequate funds by many parents would hinder them from providing some of these amenities needed for reopening of schools, stressin that the federal government needs to tell Nigerians the steps they intend to take in reopening schools.

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