The Founder and Chancellor of the flourishing Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), has offered prescriptions on how the Federal Government can reopen schools and universities within four weeks in phases.
According to Aare Babalola, only the Almighty God Himself can determine when the current COVID-19 pandemic will be eradicated globally come to an end globally.
In a 15-point prescription he rolled out in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State at the weekend, Babalola opined that the daily increase in the number of patients did not suggest that COVID-19 will soon come to an end.
Afe Babalola noted that schools nationwide were hurriedly closed down by government fiat on March 23, 2020, even when some of the pupils and students were either writing examinations or embarking on final year examinations.
The legal luminary recalled that the earliest recorded pandemic occurred around 430 BC during the Peloponnesian war which led to the death of about 66 per cent of the Athenian population. Many other pandemics including the Black Death of 1347 have since followed.
Aare Afe Babalola suggested that the government should not wait until all towns and villages in Nigeria are free from coronavirus before reopening schools and universities.
Private institutions, which are reputed for quality and functional education, predictable academic calendar, moral and physical training, discipline, clean environment, and personal hygiene should be allowed to resume academic activities within four weeks after they have been certified to have fulfilled the under listed conditions:
- The school must establish that it has residential accommodation for all students including most, if not all the staff.
- Parents shall give written undertakings supported with medical certificates that the student is fit/healthy to resume academic work.
- The institution which must be fenced must have the main gate manned by security men, nurses and other medical personnel.
- There shall be about 3 running water tanks at the gate where students will wash their hands with soap. There shall be portable sanitizers similar to those manufactured by ABUAD with NAFDAC registration number 037328. Each student must be armed with the portable sanitizer.
- He added that there shall be infrared thermometers at the gate where students, staff and anybody coming into the University shall be tested by a nurse or medical personnel.
- The University must have in place the following testing machines; Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR Machine) and Serological Test Machine.
- He stressed that each school must have in place a building specially designed to accommodate any student who is suspected to have any type of infectious diseases ranging from cough, chickenpox, measles, diarrhoea etc other than COVID-19.
- Each University must have two functional fumigation machines: one for external fumigation and the other for internal fumigation.
- All hostels, classrooms, cafeteria, conference halls and sports facilities shall be fumigated before resumption.
- The schools, he added, must have testing kits as the students must undergo test fortnightly:
- There must be provision for face masks which shall be used by students and staff in classrooms, conference halls and everywhere on the campus”, the Founder stressed.
- During a session, visitors shall not be allowed into the institutions, and if allowed, they shall go through the screening at the gates and seated in a special room outside the hostel noting that such visitors shall be very few.
- Aare Babalola further proffered that final year students forced to go home while preparing for their final examination should resume first, take their examination and vacate the university within two to three weeks.
- Thereafter, the next level of students that will resume shall be new students who will undergo the same set of tests like those of final year students.
- The resumption of other levels of students shall be staggered to ensure compliance with these prescriptions, the Ministry of Education in States where the private institution is situated shall, on behalf of the Federal Government, visit the private institutions and give a certificate of compliance with the above suggestions before such private institutions can resume academic activities.
The prescriptions for private universities shall also apply to public universities with some variations.
- For those students who are residents in the public university, the same prescription stated above shall apply.
- For the students who live outside the campus, the parents shall give written undertaking that their children will go to school either in their private cars or buses arranged by parents and/or students.
- Both the buses and the cars which bring students to the institution shall be screened at the gate.
- Public institutions shall provide the same items which private universities are bound to have in place including fencing of the school, provision for the main gate, running water tanks, soap, sanitizers, infrared thermometer, testing kits, a building for infectious disease and fumigation machines.
- Resumption of other students shall be staggered.
- To ensure compliance with these prescriptions, the Ministry of Education in the states where the public institution is situated shall on behalf of the Federal Government visit the public institutions and give a certificate of compliance by the public institutions before the public institution can resume academic activities.