Following Federal Government’s plan to review the January 18 resumption date for schools, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has said continued closure of schools may not be the best approach to controlling the spread of coronavirus.
President of NANS, Comrade Sunday Asefon, who disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen yesterday in Abuja, said Nigeria needed a more regulated environment to ensure strict compliance to the nonpharmaceutical measures, especially the use of face masks at public places.
Asefon further argued that having students and lecturers on regimented and regulated schools and campuses would help in no small measure to raise consciousness and the bar of compliance to COVID protocols, help them avoid social gatherings and undertake unnecessary travels.
He said: “We commend the consistent efforts of the Federal Government in galvanizing the entire country to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and in doing everything to access vaccines for Nigerians.
“Rather than postpone schools’ resumption, it has become imperative to address the alarming spread of COVID-19 and rising cases of deaths from a position of environmental strategy and human coordination since the lockdown mechanism can no longer be a mitigating option in the face of our economic reality.
“Therefore, and at this juncture, the Federal Government must quickly come to a place of understanding that the majority of Nigerians are living in unorganised environments and structures that are not helping to curb the spread of the virus.
“Accordingly, the Federal Government is immediately urged to rethink its approach and take only actions that can get more Nigerians into coordinated and regulated systems, like schools and offices, where hours of wearing face masks and complying with COVID safety protocols can be guaranteed to curb the spread.
“School resumption will also help the students, teachers and lecturers to avoid social gatherings and regular travels, while concentrating on the task of teaching and researching, which can also help to trigger the need to have a new alternative and approach to fighting the pandemic.”
Asefon, who urged government to rejig the current COVID-19 protocols on school resumption, disclosed that the student body was already working towards having student unions in all schools set up Task Force Against COVID- 19 for students to monitor compliance to the nonpharmaceutical protocols.
“While COVID-19 is a global pandemic being addressed across different climes, the time has come for us in Nigeria to address this virus based on our peculiarities and limitations.
“We are open to a dialogue with the Federal Government should there be a need for cross-fertilization of our ideas and logical arguments,” he added