By Seun Adeuyi
Branches of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Sunday said the institutions were not ready for safe reopening after assessing COVID-19 protocols in the universities.
In separate interviews with ThePunch, the chapters of the union commented on the directive of the National Universities Commission (NUC) that universities could resume on January 18, but must adhere to COVID-19 protocols in hostels and lecture halls.
The union said although its members were ready to start work, the Federal Government had not put measures in place for the safe reopening of the schools.
Its concern came amid COVID-19 cases and deaths, which rose to 99,063 and 1,350 respectively on Saturday.
ThePunch quoted the union Chairman at the Obafemi Awolowo, University, Osun State, Dr Adeola Egbedokun, to have 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.
His words, “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.”
But Abiodun Olanrewaju, OAU spokesperson, 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.
Holding Physical Lectures Now Will Be Disastrous — FUNAAB ASUU
ASUU at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) said the university was not ready to cope with COVID-19 challenges.
Dr Adebayo Oni, Chairman of ASUU-FUNAAB, said, “The lectures halls are overcrowded. As of today, in my own 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 ?”
According to him, the union had observed that conducting physical lectures with students would be more disastrous.
Oni described as alarming, figure of COVID-19, saying “It is definitely a threat to the resumption of academic activities.”