Sinmiloluwa Adeyemo, a 300 Level Medical Student, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD)
The first human cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19, subsequently named SARS-CoV-2 were first reported by officials in Wuhan City, China, in December 2019. WHO announced COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic on 11 March 2020, soon after various industries, facilities and institutions began to close up and shut down as ongoing activities could lead to the spread of the virus and pose a threat to humanity, economy and industrialization.
Measures have since been put in place in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus some of them include the construction of isolation centres, provision of test kits, strict rules and guidelines in public places such as use of face masks, hand sanitizers and washing hands with soap before entry.
Despite the fact that a majority of nigerians don’t have access to these facilities, it may appear to some individuals that COVID cases have dropped significantly and it is safe to continue our normal lives and go about our normal daily activities , which is far from the truth. Testing kits aren’t enough in most states and covid cases continue to be on the rise daily 10% of which includes children and adolescents from the ages of 10-18.
So why do we believe it is safe for students to resume schools?
Well the answer is not far fetched it is infact not safe, especially for tertiary institutions with students coming from different part of the country . What then is the importance of student to resume? atleast there are other options like online learning.
As effective as online learning might be it is not very feasible as some students struggle to praticipate in learning activities majorly due to the lack of proper internet access, internet connection or the technology involved in adequate transfer of information, derailing their educational progress in that effect. Some institutions are also not able to provide an online means of education. This halt in the educational process of students can lead to an increase in unemployment rates, students might also resort to all sorts of crimes and idleness which can lead to increased crime rates in the country.
The federal government has put some guidelines in place to ensure the safe reopening of schools. These guidelines should be met by educational institutions as soon as possible to prevent the aforementioned.
The guidelines are included in a document released by the federal government some of which include;
Schools are to adopt the use of distant learning centres and temporary shelters. It advocates disinfection and fumigation of facilities including hostel accommodation, with particular attention on those used as temporary isolation and treatment centres.
Also schools should “sensitise, train and build the capacity of teachers, administrators, and other education personnel to effectively use and comply with the School COVID-19 Referral System and protocols for safe distancing and hygiene in schools.”
With the release of the guidelines, the government would conduct a rapid assessment and determine funding requirement for upgrading infrastructure and facilities such as classrooms, furnitures, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene- WASH as well as ICT facilities to meet and sustain prescribed safe school reopening requirements.
The resumption of schools solely depends on the readiness of those schools to be able to accommodate students in a safe learning environment during the pandemic. Failure to meet the guidelines means they have to remain closed until enough facilities are put in place to ensure it is safe for students. A lot of schools are working towards this in Nigeria and state governments also draw out budgets for this to be feasible. It is important that the government and educational institutions meet the guidelines as soon as possible to ensure the continuation of the learning process of students.
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