Schools resume amid COVID-19 spike

By Clement Idoko (Abuja), Kola Oyelere (Kano), Adelowo Oladipo (Minna), Biola Azeez (Ilorin), Tunbosun Ogundare (Lagos), Muhammad Sabiu (Kaduna), Hakeem Gbadamosi (Akure), Hendrix Oliomogbe (Benin), Michael Ovat (Awka) and Andy-Mba Ukweni (Calabar) 

FOLLOWING the directive by the Federal Government on resumption of schools across all levels, most educational institutions will today open for academic activities amid fears by parents and teachers over the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world. 

The fears stemmed from the fact that some schools, especially public institutions, appeared to be ill-prepared and lacked the capacity to provide and enforce safety measures in order tp prevent the spread of the pandemic. 

According to the report by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Saturday night, the country has a total 108,943 cases of COVID-19 with 85,367 discharged and 1,420 dead. 

Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, while directing that schools resume today, had urged the institutions to ensure full compliance with COVID-19 protocols, including compulsory wearing of face masks and temperature checks. 

He said the decision to reopen the schools was taken after extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders, including governors, commissioners for education, proprietors and heads of institutions, staff unions and students. 

Adamu directed that the COVID-19 protocols, including compulsory wearing of face masks by all students, teachers and workers in all schools, must be observed as well as temperature checks and handwashing facilities at strategic locations in all schools, with constant supply of water and sanitiser. 

Other measures listed by Adamu are: “Enforcement of maintenance of social distancing and suspension of large gatherings such as assembly and visiting days, avoiding overcrowding, including limitations in class sizes and hostel occupancy. 

“Availability of functional health clinics with facilities for isolation and transportation of suspected cases to medical facilities and adherence to all other non-pharmaceutical protocols, restrictions and containment measures as may be prescribed or approved by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) from time to time.” 

The National Universities Commission (NUC), while also directing universities in the country to resume academic activities on the set date, similarly called for adherence to the guidelines on COVID-19 protocol earlier made available to the institutions. 

 

FG, states must not renege on putting in place necessary preventive measures – ASUU 

Speaking on today’s resumption, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) assured students of their readiness and determination to give them quality and best of training. National President of ASUU, Professor ‘Biodun Ogunyemi, in an interview with Nigerian Tribune at the weekend, said members of the union nationwide had resolved to work extra hours so as to cover up for the lost grounds. 

He said ASUU is not objected to resumption but requested government to put all necessary measures in place to contain the spread of the virus. 

Ogunyemi said most of the universities would start with online learning for now, as he charged both the federal and various state governments and other relevant authorities not to renege in putting in place, necessary measures that could help in preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

He also said governments would need to ensure they provide and sustain enabling environment for engaging and effective online learning and teaching, adding that technology has become a new normal in academic circle as applicable to other sectors of the economy. 

Teachers ready for resumption, private schools have measures in place

NUT, NAPST National president of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr Nasir Idris, told Nigerian Tribune on Sunday that teachers across the country are ready for resumption today. This position was also affirmed by the national president of National Association of Private School Teachers (NAPST), Augustine Olumhense Akhigbe, who said they are ready for resumption. 

He disclosed that from findings, most private schools had made arrangements with all the safety measures put in place to prevent the spread of the disease. 

Akhigbe most private schools have enough space to accommodate the students, both in hostels and in classes, while observing social distancing and other protocols. 

We’ll monitor implementation of protocols in schools —NANS 

President of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Sunday Asefon, also assured that the leadership of the association would set up monitoring and enforcement of the protocols in all tertiary institutions across the country. 

He described the resumption of schools as a welcome development, especially universities, after the students had spent almost a year at home, noting that schools are regulated environments where the safety measures could be easily enforced. 

Confusion over HoS circular as Lagos schools reopen 

Schools in Lagos State will reopen today, in line with a statement by Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, made available by the Head, Public Affairs unit of the ministry, Mr Kayode Abayomi. 

She, however, urged students and members of staff to stay safe and adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines and protocols. 

Teachers in public schools are, however, confused whether they are all expected to be at their duty posts or only those from Grade Level 14 and above as the state head of service had earlier directed all civil servants under the state payroll below Level 14 to work from home till February. 

Chairman of the state chapter of NUT, Mr Adesina Adedoyin, told the Nigerian Tribune in an interview on Sunday that many teachers in the state-owned primary and secondary schools are below Grade Level 14 and are, therefore, confused over the position of government on the circular. 

He said public schools would do staggered classes as students will alternate days to come to school each week, adding that various school authorities would come up with the schedules by today for implementation. 

On their part, private school operators said they are ready for resumption, as they had already provided all necessary items to comply with the protocols. 

Academic activities resume in UI, virtual classes begin February 22 

Academic activities will resume in the University of Ibadan today. The development followed last week’s approval of the revised academic calendar for the 2018/2019 session and calendar for the 2020/2021 session by the senate of the university.

The senate had cancelled the 2019/2020 session and thus renaming the next session, 2020/2021 session.

Today’s resumption will see staff, rather than students, engage in various activities to wrap up the aborted 2018/2019 academic session.

Over the course of the next five weeks, lecturers will be involved in activities to include processing of examination results for final and non-final year students, meetings of faculty boards of examiners and consideration of first and second semester results.

Upon conclusion of the 2018/2019 session on February 19, the 2020/2021 session is billed to commence on Monday, February 22.

According to the senate, there will be virtual teaching for 13 weeks from February 22 for first semester of the 2020/2021 session.

The calendar, however, did not state if teaching for the second semester of the 2020/2021 session will be virtual.

Unilorin ready for resumption – Management

Management of the University of Ilorin has reiterated the readiness of the institution to throw its gates open to students for the completion of the ongoing 2019/2020 academic session. Dean of Student Affairs, Professor Lanre Tajudeen Ajibade, said the environment of the university is being constantly maintained to ensure that it is habitable for members of the university community.

The professor of Geography said all the 40 hostels, including private ones across the campus of the university had been cleaned and sanitised, with fumigation exercise carried out in all the hostels, academic areas and offices at least a week before students’ resumption.

Ajibade also explained that the resumption would be in phases, so that the campus is not jam-packed. He said students who are yet to complete their first semester examination would resume first and would be followed by final year students and, thereafter, Postgraduate students.

The dean disclosed that the university had constructed 30 hand-washing units at strategic locations across the campus, adding that the institution would ensure minimal physical contact between lecturers and students through the provision of 10 smart boxes, to ensure social distancing.

He added that 400 number of personal computers would be provided to assist students who do not have android phones to access online lectures.

We are prepared – UNIZIK

Management of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka (UNIZIK), Anambra State, said the institution had put in place all necessary preventive measures in compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

The public relations officer of the university, Mrs Chika Ene, who spoke to Nigerian Tribune in a telephone interview, said even before the announcement by the Federal Government, workers had been adhering to guidelines put in place to safeguard their lives.

She disclosed the school had commenced online learning since Monday, January 4. She also disclosed that the university management has also set up a COVID-19 second wave committee to check the rate of transmission of the virus around the campus.

Ondo tertiary institutions put measures in place

Spokesperson of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), in charge of Information and Publications, Adebanjo Adegbenro, said students are expected to resume today while lectures will commence thereafter. Adegbenro said the school had put in place measures, including arrangement of seats in the lecture halls to ensure physical distancing.

At the University of Medical Science, Ondo, students are also expected to resume today as directed by the Federal Government.

A statement by institution’s spokesman, Temitope Oluwatayo, quoted the university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Adesegun Fatusi, as stating that the wearing of face mask is mandatory for students and members of staff as well as visitors.

Also, the Principal Assistant Registrar, Protocol and Public Relations of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Mr Victor Akinpelumi, said as part of effort to ensure the safety of the students and staff, the school embarked on production of sanitisers to be made available for all students of the school. He said the school, among other measures, has constructed water points at all entrances into the university, fumigated classrooms, lecture theatres, hostels, offices, centres, health centres and students’ relaxation centres.

UNILAG resumes online lectures Jan 25, YABATECH resumes today

University of Lagos (UNILAG) Akoka, announced Monday, January 25, as the commencement date for online lectures and Monday, March 15, for examinations for categories of its students for the 2019/2020 academic session. The management made the announcement in a statement, entitled “Revised academic calendar for the 2019/2020 session, first and second semester.”

The university also announced schedules of other statutory activities covering the first and second semesters and also the 2021/2022 academic calendar for its students under the Distance Learning Institute (DLI) and the Senate meeting. The university’s spokesman, Mr Ademola Adekoya, said the university had provided for all necessary non-pharmaceutical measures that could help both students and the school workers as well as visitors to follow the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines.

He said the university authority had assigned various committees and saddled them with responsibilities of enforcement of COVID-19 protocols on campus. Similarly, Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), will resume today. Deputy Head of Press and Public Affairs Department of the institution, Mr Felix Alade, told the Nigerian Tribune that academic activities would be online and also physical.

UNICAL will be 70% COVID-19 compliant in one week —VC

Vice Chancellor, University of Calabar, Professor Florence Obi, said the University of Calabar will be 70 per cent COVID-19 compliant in a week or two. Professor Obi revealed this in a phone conversation with Nigerian Tribune, as she decried that the Federal Government support was not forthcoming.

Meanwhile, governments of Edo, Kano, Kaduna, Niger have announced varying reopening dates apart from today.

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