Why universities can’t reopen January 18 — ASUU

The National Universities Commission (NUC) has directed tertiary institutions to reopen by January 18.

But the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says it is unsafe to do so at the moment.

“COVID-19 is very real and this second wave is as real as described,” chairman of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) chapter of ASUU, Dr Adeola Egbedokun, told Punch on Sunday.

“We cannot afford to toy with our health and the health of our dear students 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 protocol. There is no way universities can achieve that.

“I have said this elsewhere, that rather than for government to have addressed the obvious deficits in the public universities during the lockdown and strike, they were playing to the gallery.”

Other chapters of ASUU in various universities expressed similar concerns, adding that holding physical lectures in overcrowded rooms during a pandemic could be disastrous.

OAU spokesperson, Abiodun Olanrewaju, however, said the university management was ready for resumption and had put in place “a lot in relation to the COVID-19 protocol”.

At the University of Lagos (UNILAG), the Senate will determine when it is safe to reopen, Registrar, Oladejo Azeez, said.

“Irrespective of what the Federal Government has said, the resumption of students or of academic activities is the prerogative of Senate,” Azeez told Punch.

“Senate of the university will decide and the meeting of the Senate is coming up on Wednesday; a virtual meeting.

“The law places this in the hands of the Senate and until Senate meets, there is no way anybody can say anything on resumption.”

On its part, the management of the University of Ibadan (UI) said everything would be done to ensure that there was not spike in cases of COVID-19 among students and staff.


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