Second Wave: Varsities Not Safe For Resumption – ASUU Members
Some members of Academic Staff Union of Universities have expressed their reservations about the January 18 resumption date for academic activities in all universities across the country.
Tertiary institutions nationwide were closed for over 9 months in 2020 partly because of the protracted strike action of the union as well as the COVID19 pandemic.
ASUU on December 23 called off their strike and National Universities Commission (NUC) thereafter asked Universities to resume academic activities on January 18.
The directive for reopening came with a strong warning that school administrators must ensure strict adherence to all COVID19 protocols which include sanitizing, wearing of facemasks as well as social distancing.
However, some members of ASUU believe that the resumption date isn’t feasible as most of the universities are currently not equipped to adhere to the COVID19 protocols.
Chairmen of various chapters of the union in various institutions in separate interviews with The Punch said the COVID-19 protocols cannot be adhered to in classrooms and hostels that are already crowded.
They said although their members were ready to start work, government had not put measures in place for safe reopening of the schools.
Union Chairman at Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State, Dr Adeola Egbedokun, expressed that classroom and hostel situations in universities did not in any way conform with COVID-19 protocols.
Egbedokun further said no preparations had been made so far for the safe re-opening of the universities and urged parents to insist on safety before re-opening.
However, OAU spokesperson, Abiodun Olanrewaju, said the university management was ready for resumption and had put in place “a lot in relation to the COVID-19 protocols” in a bid to ensure safety.
ASUU at Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta noted that the university was not ready to cope with COVID-19 challenges.
Chairman of ASUU-FUNAAB, Dr Adebayo Oni, pointed out that lectures halls are overcrowded and there are not provision for safety protocols
He observed that conducting physical lectures with students would be more disastrous and also noted that online classes also require necessary provisions that aren’t available.
On his part, Chairman of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University branch of ASUU, Dr Musa Babayo, expressed that the government and institutions did not show any sign of seriousness in handling COVID-19 issues when the union was on strike.
He said ASUU in ATBU had yet to see any tangible improvement in students’ hostel accommodation, classrooms and other things needed for COVID-19 protocols.
Babayo added that if the Federal Government had released funds to universities, proper arrangements for the protocols would have been made by the institutions.
In addition, Chairman of ASUU at the University of Jos, Dr Lazarus Maigoro, said the association was concerned about the second wave of COVID-19.
He, therefore, urged the management of the university to ensure compliance with COVID-19 protocols on resumption.
Senate of UNIJOS will on Monday (today) hold a meeting to decide whether the institution will reopen for academic activities on January 18, 2021.
At the University of Calabar, the union Chairman, Dr John Edor, said the association would not allow its members to be exposed to health hazards.
At the University of Port Harcourt, ASUU Chairman, Dr Austen Sado, stated that there would be a spike in coronavirus cases.
We have not been invited to inspect any facility in order to determine its suitability. So, we will wait until we get clarification on the resumption, then we will know whether there are things to contend with.
However, Registrar of University of Lagos, Mr Oladejo Azeez, said the decision on resumption of academic activities would be taken by the school’s Senate on Wednesday.
While management of the University of Ibadan stated that everything would be done to ensure that there was not spike in cases of COVID-19 among students and staff upon resumption.
Director of Public Communication of the university, Mr Olatunji Oladejo, said this in Ibadan on Sunday.