Despite the protest of Nigerian university students calling for the resumption of academic activities at the universities, the federal government may not give heed to their desires and the reasons are not far-fetched. There are fears that if COVID-19 breaks out in the university or polytechnic community, it may be difficult to control.
The reason is the campus community is unlike the secondary schools where students are easily controlled. This is not so with university students. University students have some level of autonomy to live their lives the way they like as far as it does not infringe on the right of others and cause breach of public peace, except schools that are highly regulated.
Check this. The university of Alabama in the United States of America, has just recorded over 560 COVID-19 new cases across its three campuses and medical centres in less than a week of resumption. The reason is simple. Their living pattern is not easily regulated by school authorities. This is the fear of the Nigerian government.
Reports say students and staff of the university accounted for 531 of the total number of confirmed cases since August 19.
“The rise we’ve seen in recent days is unacceptable, and if unchecked, threatens our ability to complete the rest of the semester on campus,” University of Alabama President Stuart Bell said at a press conference Monday, adding:”Now is the time for action.”
The university campus is said to be one of the drivers of the economy of Alabama, hence if the university goes on-line for the entire semester, it will have devastating effect on the local economy.
Classes began on August 19 with students wearing facemasks, maintaining physical distancing, gathering limits and other COVID-19 protocols in place.
The Nigerian government is not set for this experience. This is why it is very slow to allow students of higher institutions go back to school. The government fears there may be an uncontrollable outbreak among students which could generate more challenges for the nation’s weak health system.