Sunday, January 17, 2021 11:46 pm
By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
As students of tertiary institutions across the country resume for academic activities on Monday, a group, Network for Democracy and Development (NDD), has said that the rising cases of Covid-19 could lead to catastrophic consequences on the campuses, if resumption is poorly regulated.
NDD stated this in a statement on Sunday, signed by its National Coordinator, Tajudeen Alabede and the Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Abdul-Wasi Moshood, after a virtual conference meeting.
While they tasked both federal and state governments on the need provide facilities for virtual learning, they urged the government to deploy health personnel to schools to handle emergencies, in view of the raging second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rather than the suspension of school resumption, the group noted that the federal and state governments should have provided hand sanitisers and nose masks to students and staff, compulsory testing of all students and staff and also organized a well-coordinated phased resumption in a way that could prevent overcrowding in the school environment.
They are also of the opinion that the government and set up of isolation centres in all local government areas, as major requirement for schools resumption.
“It is discomforting that many [state] governments have not gone beyond merely issuing statements encouraging schools to observe Covid-19 protocols.
“In this situation, the hapless students, pupils and staff are literally left to their fate as adequate safety measures are not put in place by the federal and state governments,” the statement said.
“NDD considers this inappropriate as the primary duty of any government is the security and wellbeing of the citizens.
“What NDD expects is for the Government at all levels to regard Covid-19 as a national emergency which would demand that affected sectors are provided with all the necessary support that they need to cope with the impact of the pandemic.
“In the minimum, government should consider providing facilities for virtual classes, deploying health and security personnel to schools to handle emergencies, providing hand sanitisers and masks to students and staff, providing testing facilities for compulsory testing of all students and staff and setting up isolation centres in all local governments.
“Besides, there should have been a well-coordinated plan by the federal and state governments about phased resumption in a way that would prevent overcrowding in the institutions.
“We commend University of Ilorin and a few other institutions that have properly articulated their phased resumption plans.
“The education sector embraces the largest percentage of citizens–from kindergarten to postgraduate classes. It is a sector that is most affected by Covid-19 pandemic.
Thus, the consequences of poorly regulated resumption plans amidst the rising cases of Covid-19 may be catastrophic.”