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School Re-Opening: Observe Protocols Or Risk School Closure

It is no longer news that the Nigerian students are thrilled to head back to campus after a ten-month shut down by the federal government. This was the result of a surge in COVID-19 cases and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike. It is important to note that the federal government and ASUU are not in support of school reopening even though other sectors have been given the go-ahead to operate in order to avoid an economic crisis in the country.

To avert the need to close schools again, students have been asked to abide by COVID-19 protocols laid down by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The use of face masks, washing of hands regularly, avoidance of crowds and maintaining of distancing are some of the ways to thwart the spread of this virus on campus. The two options are now left for the students to choose between either observing these prevention protocols or risk the closure of schools again.

Students cannot afford to stay out of class any longer but it is deplorable that the federal government has failed to provide the necessary COVID-19 preventive equipment to enable federal school management keep the students safe from the virus while on campus. The school management has a function to perform in ensuring COVID-19 protocols are maintained on campus by setting up a task force committee that will be responsible to implement the rules and regulations laid down by the NCDC to contain the spread of this deadly virus.

Lecturers should not allow students who refuse to use a face mask inside the class and the lecturers should ensure that the students maintain social-distancing in the classroom. The Students’ Union should also try their best to enlighten the students on the need to abide by these protocols and to also set up a committee among students to enforce the rules laid down by the management of the institution as part of its contribution in containing this virus.

Campus journalists also have a role to play to ensure that the students and lecturers abide by COVID-19 protocols by using their pen to sensitise students and lecturers on the need to follow the preventive measures and to also hold any students or lecturers accountable for violating the COVID-19 protocols on campus.

The management of each institution should ensure the availability of handwashing machines and hand sanitiser at strategic points within the campus to ensure student safety on campus. 

Finally, the students should not violate these protocols because the aftermath of the surge of COVID-19 cases may lead to the closure of schools again and the continuous closure of schools will affect students across the country. It is better to observe Covid-19 protocols than to risk the closure of schools again.

This article first appeared here but has been edited for CAMPUS REPORTER by CAMPUS REPORTER and the author.

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