Home NEWS We can’t resume, we don’t want to die, teachers tell FG

We can’t resume, we don’t want to die, teachers tell FG

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…as NMA throws support

The Nigerian Medical Association and the Nigeria Union of Teachers, on Tuesday, took a swipe at the Federal Government over its “safe reopening of schools”.

The lead organizations of medical doctors and teachers in the country has revealed that the directive that graduating classes should resume was not only badly thought-out, but also could expose both teachers and pupils to the deadly coronavirus.

The NUT General Secretary, Mike Ene, said government was playing politics with the directive. He wondered how teachers, who had not been paid salaries in some states, would get money to buy personal protective equipment.

According to Mr Mike Ene “The NUT is saying that the government has not assured us properly to go back to school. Has the NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) moved around to make sure that the isolation centres are provided in schools? What measures have they told us have been provided for teachers to come back?

“We are being taken for granted. Teachers are parents and human beings too and their children don’t want to lose them out of carelessness. We are ready. We are not afraid to teach. But government has not shown commitment for us to go back to school. All what the government is doing is mere politics.

“When you talk of guidelines, we have passed the stage of talking without actions. I just read a text from a certain school asking my daughter who is going to take final exams to come back. They are demanding sanitisers, face marks and other consumables, thereby throwing back the burden to parents who have already been overstretched with feeding their children since they have been at home.

“But government has reneged on what it should do. In a class of 60, 40 or 70 pupils, you’re talking of physical and social distancing. Can a teacher take a class from 8am to 2pm, 2pm to 5pm and 5pm to 10pm? What is the PPE that government has given to teachers?
“If a teacher is going to face many pupils in a class, and has no PPE, how will the teacher function or they expect him to use his meagre salary? I don’t know if government is aware that as of today so many states and local governments are owing teachers.”
In another development, the NMA President, Prof Innocent Ujah, said that given the current low level of compliance by Nigerians with COVID-19 safety protocols, it was risky to ask pupils to resume.

“What is the compliance of the citizens in terms of regular hand-washing and other safety protocols? the NMA president asked. Continuing, he said that at the moment, many of the schools don’t even have water. Obviously, it becomes very difficult to say that schools should reopen because you have to wash your hands regularly.

He also said it would be difficult to observe social distancing in crowded classrooms. “I believe the government should think about it. If they can stay a little, people have to be alive to go to school and the way things are happening, the compliance level is still very low. I don’t think it is appropriate to open the schools now.”