…Teachers will stay at home if infections increase, says teachers union
The Nigeria Union of Teachers on Thursday cautioned the Federal Government against the January 18 resumption date for schools across the country.
The NUT Secretary-General, Dr Mike Ike-Ene, who stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents, said there was no need to hurriedly resume, if the rate of COVID-19 infection kept increasing. Ike-Ene stated that if Coronavirus infection was increasing, teachers would stay at home. Recalled that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had on December 17 said the country had entered COVID-19 second wave.
On December 21, the PTF, at its press briefing, said the Federal Government had ordered all schools to remain shut until January 18 as part of the efforts to battle COVID-19 second wave.
Ike-Ene in the interview with The PUNCH, explained that it was important to critically study the infection rate as schools awaited the January 18th resumption date given by the Federal Government.
He stated, “I am someone who believes in life and it is when there is life that you can have a proposal. The number we are having shows that this (second wave) is more horrible. If the PTF and the NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) are able to tell us about the new discoveries, then we can decide if we should stay at home or resume.
“As for all the COVID-19 protocols, our teachers have been practicing them in our schools. That was why WASSCE (West African Senior School Certificate Examination) was held. If they feel this one is more rapid in terms of new infections, it means that teachers will stay at home.
“The Federal Government has said resumption is January 18. Let’s watch out, if by 18th (of January), it keeps increasing, then one will advise that the students should tarry. Let them remain at home. There is no point rushing and risking lives.
“There is no point rushing, although our students have wasted time, I think our students; especially the undergraduates, are in a hurry to go back to school. If the number keeps increasing the way it is, it means we may take some few weeks to look at it properly.”
He also advised that teachers and students should be the first set of people to be considered for the Coronavirus vaccines when they arrive in the country. Ike-Ene said these people were vulnerable and it was important to protect them as they constituted the present and future of Nigeria.