Govt says it’s not yet safe to reopen universities

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has declared that tertiary institutions would remain under lock indefinitely to protect students and lecturers from contracting COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

It said that the continued closure was due to indices emanating from various parts of the country which shows that Nigeria was yet to flatten COVID-19 curve and cannot relax measures introduced to curb community transmission of the disease.

According to the government, the school would only be reopened when cases subside and everyone visiting the school premises could be guaranteed safety of their health.

The declaration by the apex government was said to have dashed the hopes of students and lecturers awaiting a date for reopening of tertiary institutions in the country.

As gathered, the students and lecturers were said to have wished that the government reopen the varsities for commencement of physical learning after approving resumption of academic activities in secondary schools and markets in the country.

Although the students were said to have commenced online learning after sudden closure of schools, however, concerns raised by the lecturers were that conducting examination online could be difficult and requested the government to reopen the institutions for learning.

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Announcing the government declaration on Thursday after a meeting with representatives of private tertiary institutions in the country, Minister of State for Education, Chekwuemeka Nwajiuba, said that the schools remain under lock until the cases in the country subsided.

Nwajiuba noted that the government wished that lockdown and other measures introduced to flatten coronavirus curve could be lifted completely but indices from states do not support it.

The minister hinted that after the meeting, the varsities representatives left with a conviction that the action of the government was not to prevent academic activities rather, to ensure safety of the students and their lecturers after reopening.

He said: “Today, I met with owners of private tertiary institutions in the country and during the meeting, they demanded that the schools be reopened since the government has approved reopening of markets that have more population than the schools in the country.

“And I told them that it was true that the markets have more population than the schools but I made them understand that it will be unwise to reopen the schools when we have not received any clean bill from the Presidential Task Force that the community transmission of the virus has subsided and cases in the country have reduced”.

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