The founder of Afe Babalola University in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), has advised the federal government against waiting till all towns and villages in the country are free from COVID-19 before reopening schools.
Babalola, who said “only the Almighty God Himself can determine when the current coronavirus pandemic will be eradicated globally,” added that “the daily increase in the number of patients does not suggest that COVID-19 will soon come to an end.”
The legal luminary, in a statement in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, argued that schools nationwide were “hurriedly” closed down by government fiat on March 23 when some pupils and students were either writing examinations or embarking on final-year examinations.
He offered advice on how the federal government could reopen the schools and universities within four weeks in phases.
Babalola listed the conditions under which “private institutions should be allowed to resume academic activities within four weeks.”
These, he said, included that “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.
“There shall be about three running water tanks at the gate where students will wash their hands with soap. There shall be portable sanitisers. Each student must be armed with the portable sanitisers. 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.
“Each school must have in place a building specially designed to accommodate any student who is suspected to have any type of infectious disease ranging from cough, chickenpox, measles, diarrhea etc other than COVID-19.”
He added that each university must have two functional fumigation machines and “ensure all hostels, classrooms, cafeteria, conference halls, and sports facilities shall be fumigated before resumption.”
Babalola also advised that the schools must have testing kits as “the students must undergo test fortnightly in addition to the provision for face masks which shall be used by students and staff in classrooms, conference halls and everywhere on the campus.”
He also advised staggered resumption, saying the 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.
He said the next level of students that would resume shall be new students who would “undergo the same set of tests like those of final year students”