The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has cautioned the federal government against re-opening the nation’s schools .
The nation’s learning spaces have been shut since March as one in a raft of measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Nigeria has recorded 24, 567 COVID-19 infections, 9007 recoveries and 565 deaths as of June 28, 2020.
In the face of the rising number of infections, amid gradual easing of lockdown measures by state and federal governments, Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba announced last week that a presentation has been made to the national assembly on the proposed dates for reopening of schools across the country.
However, national President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ota, Ogun State, that schools should remain under lock and key until the federal government leads the way in implementing safety measures and health guidelines across the country.
“The federal government must lead and show the way by meeting the conditions for reopening of schools before any school can be allowed to open because COVID-19 pandemic is a health challenge,” Ogunyemi said.
“When it comes to public health, it is something that should not be left in the hands of individuals but the federal government must take the lead.”
The ASUU president listed the conditions spelt out by NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) to include the provision of materials for regular hand-washing, provision of face masks, isolation spaces, hand sanitisers, among others.
He said many government-owned schools don’t have the funds to meet the outlined conditions.
“It is suicidal to reopen schools now if the federal government itself cannot meet the conditions spelt out by the NCDC and the World Health Organisation. The nation will expose innocent children to avoidable risks,”he added.
Some of the nation’s public and private schools have been experimenting with online learning since COVID-19 era restrictions kicked off.
However, poor internet infrastructure in rural communities and deplorable bandwidths nationwide mean that a chunk of students and pupils have been left out of the learning loop for weeks.