How Feasible is it to Follow COVID-19 Guidelines in Nigerian Public Tertiary Institutions?

How Feasible is it to Follow COVID-19 Guidelines in Nigerian Public Tertiary Institutions?

A big thanks to all and sundry that made the delivery of nine months pregnancy a success in Nigeria. This is just to acknowledge the prolonged strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) against the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) in the year 2020. It wasn't an easy tussle though. During these times, a lot of events unfolded: some students drifted towards entrepreneurship, some were victims of sexual violence, some began their marital journey unexpectedly, while most lecturers were financially unstable.

To rekindle the nation's academic activities, physical reopening of public schools shut down since March 2020 was slated for 18th January, 2021 by the FGN. To think this is not feasible on the count of meeting up with COVID-19 guidelines is debatable. First and foremost, to physically open tertiary institutions in Nigeria is easy-difficult considering some situational factors around the clarion call. It's indeed very easy to open the gate to the four walls of the institution for entry of all stakeholders; students, lecturers, non-academic staff, artisans, business personnel e.t.c. How about the risks involved in the re-opening? How easy will it be to maintain social distancing in university campuses? How easy will the personal hygiene be practiced therein? Who will serve as COVID-19 compliant officers? How many of these compliant officers will be needed to cover the entire institution? 

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Looking at it from another view, the number of students to the available lecture rooms cannot even make social distancing practicable. Also, from whose purse will the personal hygiene equipment (antiseptic soaps, hand sanitizers, driers) be sourced? Will it be from the university's purse? Or from the government in control of the university? Either way, it would be too much for the university to bear at this time while imploring the students to pay for it might not be appropriate too. 

The possible way out should be for everyone to go about with their personal hygiene kits, particularly hand sanitizer having worn their face masks appropriately. In the light of the aforementioned issues, it's high time for blended learning (online and physical) in public tertiary institutions to support the fight against the widespread of COVID-19 on university campuses. Just imagine the possibility of a carrier of COVID-19 in a public tertiary institution, casualties no doubt will be thousands if not tens of it in a very large setting.

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Another major factor that needs to be attended to right now is the increasing need for infrastructural developments of the state owned public institutions in Nigeria. Considering the needs in question, it will be overwhelming for the government alone, as such, support from private individuals (alumni, non-alumni, indigenes, non-indigenes) and non-governmental organisations will go a long way to contain the spread of COVID-19. "If an injury to one is truly an injury to all", it becomes more than necessary for everyone on campus to observe safety protocols to avoid the unwanted end result of the widespread of COVID-19 on campus. 

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