COVID-19: Don’t open schools until 2021, ASUU tells FG

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has urged the Federal Government to maintain the shut down of schools until 2021 to ensure adequate preparations before resumption.

Recall that schools were closed nationwide since March 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an interview granted to a national medium, The Punch, Biodun Ogunyemi, president of ASUU, said that government shouldn’t take chances unless parents sign an undertaking.

“Look, Kenya has said they have closed all their schools till next year. They too have exams to write; safety first. If it means closing the schools until next year to safeguard the lives of Nigerian children and safeguard the health of all Nigerians, so be it.

“So, if that will help us to address cases that can lead to increase in mortality, I think Nigerians should go that way and all of us should see reason for it.

“If they need to cancel admission for the year, it is good for them. Life matters first, people must have life first before they can go to university. Are the universities ready to work now?

“Our position is that they should not experiment with the lives of our children. Nobody can tell; the situation may soon normalise and they can do their exams and there is another opportunity for external candidates around November. So, it’s not as if the door is totally closed.”

Ogunyemi added that ASUU has not seen any evidence to show that there are adequate safety measures in place for students to resume.

According to him, “The first thing that should be tackled is whether schools are safe. And if the schools are not safe, why do you want to carry out an experiment with the lives of our children?

“An attempt to send back the children to school at a time there is a spike in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria is like experimenting with the lives of our children.

“If they put all the things in place, including social and physical distancing, sanitisers, kitting the children as we see in other places, decontamination with water flowing in the schools and all the gadgets, why not?

“So, if government can meet all these conditions, then they can reopen the schools. But if they cannot meet all these conditions, they should not experiment with even 10 students in any school.”

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