The Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), yesterday offered prescriptions on how the Federal Government could reopen schools and universities within four weeks in phases.
The legal luminary noted that “only the Almighty God Himself can determine when the current coronavirus pandemic will come to an end globally.”
Afe Babalola, in a 15-point prescription he rolled out in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, opined that the daily increase in the number of patients did not suggest that COVID-19 would soon come to an end.
He said that government should not wait until all towns and villages in Nigeria are free from coronavirus before reopening schools and universities that 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.
“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 must 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 members of 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 three running water tanks at the gate where students will wash their hands with soap. There shall be portable sanitisers similar to those manufactured by ABUAD with NAFDAC registration number 037328. Each student must be armed with the portable sanitiser.
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“There shall be infrared thermometers at the gate where students, members of 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.”
Babalola, who 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 and so on other than COVID-19, said: “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 must have testing kits as the students must undergo test fortnightly.
“There must be provision for facemasks, which shall be used by students and members of staff in classrooms, conference halls and everywhere on the campus”, the Founder stressed.
“During 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 and such visitors shall be very few.”
Aare Babalola, who 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, said: “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 institutions are 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.
He also said that the prescriptions for private universities could also apply to public universities with some variations.