Students express mixed feelings over suspension of ASUU strike

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ibadan Chapter, has warned against the reopening of schools without provisions for schools to meet COVID-19 precautionary guidelines.

According to its chairman, Prof. Ayo Akinwole, the negative effects of the pandemic on schools could be huge if responsibility was not taken to ensure safety.

He warned that no pecuniary gains would be more than the lives of lecturers and their students.

Akinwole who spoke via a statement issued in Ibadan on Sunday, noted that before COVID-19 pandemic, public varsities were overcrowded with students and hostel facilities took more than its capacity.

He cautioned parents not to jubilate at the possibility of schools reopening, saying they should ask the government to put measures in place so as not to have a surge in COVID-19 that might happen as a result of ill-thought out reopening.

He said: “What we are simply saying is that the Federal Government should adhere to their own set guidelines.

“Our position, as a responsible union in all these is that; throwing schools open in the midst of all these, is an open invitation to the tragic explosion of the COVID-19 scourge on a scale never witnessed anywhere since its outbreak.”

Akinwole said the union was aware of the agitations from the proprietors of private universities for the government to reopen schools.

He said, “ASUU is not in any way opposed to this call.

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“However, Nigerians should honestly interrogate this position. Has the Nigerian government met the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) criteria on COVID – 19 protocols in our institutions?

“COVID-19 pandemic is still very much with us. It is in recognition of this fact that the government itself has rolled out certain conditions to be met before schools are reopened.”

The ASUU chairman, wondered how many institutions in the country that can confidently vouch for the safety of the children in terms of the availability of facilities such as running water for hand washing; social distancing among students; use of recommended face masks and shields, according to NCDC protocols.