The Nigeria Union of Teachers has warned the Federal Government against plan to reopen schools on January 18 despite the surge in the Covid-19 pandemic.
While issuing the warning on Thursday December 31, 2020, the NUT Secretary-General, Dr Mike Ike-Ene, said there was no need to hurriedly resume since the country still records increase in the Covid-19 cases.
Ike-Ene stated, “If coronavirus infection increases, teachers would stay at home.”
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 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 practising 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.