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With the commencement of on-campus as well as online learning in most public tertiary institutions, the major concern is how to prevent prevent the universities from becoming superspreader sites for the novel Corona-virus. Already many universities have put in place infrastructures like running water, hand sanitizers, automatic and hand-held thermometers, marking and signs to encourage social distancing and creates awareness of the evolving pandemic. Here are some further recommendation that may be required:
a. There should be flexibility in the school calendar: Already, some universities like University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, have decided that they are skipping one session. While this may not come as a shock to most people, other universities should be plan for some major disruptions in the academic year too. This may come as a result as of an outbreak affecting students and some key lecturers and non-academic staff. While nobody is praying for this, this is a real possibility in this era.
Also, schools should also decide early on what plans they have for students who might miss some of their exams as result of being infected with the coronavirus.
b. More resources should be given to online education: There is an urgent need for public universities to allocate more financial resources to build the capacity and competency for online education. Lecturers and students should be given access to training, systems, internet broadband access and ebooks and videos. As much as possible, physical gathering of students to receive lectures should be discouraged.
c. A robust health monitoring system: It is highly inevitable that there will be one or two cases of the Covid-19 illness in the campus. There needs to be a robust monitoring of the health situation of both the students and staff. Any symptoms of high fever, cough, chills, loss of taste,muscle fatigue, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing should be treated seriously. The affected students or staff should be isolated(if possible) or sent home safely to complete the recovery process. Also, school medical center must be equipped to handle some cases of the COVID19 sickness. Personal protective equipment and facemask should be in abundant supply.
The sanitation of hostels should be of topmost importance. There must be regular fumigation of the hostels, lecture halls, offices and recreational grounds. Hall porters and governors must ensure that there are no 'squatters' residing in any hall.
d. Strict compliance with facemask, social distancing and personal hygiene: The managements of our public tertiary institutions must ensure strict compliance with the Nigerian Center for Disease Control guideline on facemask, social distancing and personal hygiene. Students must be wear face mask in public. Lecture halls must have adequate marking to ensure social distance. There must be enough air ventilation in the lecture halls and halls of residence.
e. In-person campus social activities should wait,..., for now: The university is usually a beehive of social activities. From orientation programmes of various departments, clubs and groups to send-forth parties of graduating students, there are no shortage of fun events that students usually look forward to. However, due to the shortness of time caused the the ASUU industrial action and the COVID 19 pandemic, social activities should be curtailed to online events.
Source: Inside Higher Ed
Source:The Guardian Nigeria