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FG can reopen universities, but must provide facilities for social distancing – ASUU

THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)  says the Federal Government can reopen tertiary institutions in the country if it can provide adequate facilities for social distancing across those institutions.

The Federal Government had shut down all schools including tertiary institutions in the country as part of efforts to curtail the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Nigeria.

Abiodun Ogunyemi, the ASUU National President stated this on Thursday in a telephone interview with The ICIR.

Ogunyemi said the union was not against reopening of tertiary institutions across the nation but was much concerned about the lives of students and staff of universities.

He explained that the Federal Government has given six guidelines for the reopening of schools in Nigeria but failed to assign responsibility even to itself.

Ogunyemi stated that part of the guidelines of the Federal Government is the use of hand washing facilities, disinfection of classes and offices, temperature check, ensure social and physical distancing in class sizes and meeting spaces among others.

“But they failed to assign responsibilities to these guidelines, who is going to provide for hand washing facilities,” he questioned.

“Is it the Federal Government or the institution that has low running cost already,” he lamented.

“If they want schools to resume, they should provide face masks for all universities across the nation,” Ogunyemi added.

He also stated that according to the Federal Government’s guideline, institutions should take classes in partitioned classes but questioned the viability of the partitioned classes.

“If they want us to reduce the number of students in a class, they should provide the facilities to do so.

“The classes that are over occupied before COVID-19, how can they maintain social distancing now if facilities are not provided,” Ogunyemi further stated.

He said the guidelines are only feasible if the government can provide the facilities.

“We had advised the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on education during the total lockdown but they fail to do so.”

“The total lockdown was a window of opportunity for them to provide facilities that could have been used to ensure social distancing now,” he added.

The ASUU President noted that the academic union has played its part in ensuring that COVID-19 does not spread to schools, saying that it is now the turn of the Federal Government to play its part else it would be endangering the lives of students and staffs.

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