Four tertiary institutions in Kaduna State, northwest Nigeria have announced plans to reopen for studies despite a surge in the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country.
The institutions – Kaduna State University (KASU); Ahmadu Bello University (ABU); Federal College of Education, Zaria; and Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic – made their plans known at a stakeholder’s meeting on the reopening of schools in Kaduna.
The meeting was organised by the Kaduna State Ministry of Education and attended by heads of tertiary institutions in the state, private school owners, parents and government officials.
KASU management said the school will reopen on January 25 for the 2019/2020 second semester academic session
KASU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Muhammad Tanko, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Yohanna Tella, said that the university proposed a six-week lecture if allowed to open on Jan. 25.
He added that virtual lectures for large classes of more than 50 students would be conducted for students in the lower levels and physical lectures for small classes of 50 students for those in higher levels.
“We have also planned practical classes in batches of fewer than 25 students for smaller classes and 45 for larger classes. The examinations for 100 level and 200 level students will be computer-based,” he said.
The vice chancellor said that the Student Affairs Division Protocols Enforcement Task force would ensure the fumigation and general sanitation of the hostel’s environment.
He said that arrangements had been made for regular waste disposal, availability of disinfectants at toilet facilities, constant water supply, availability of hand sanitiser and face masks.
“We will also train and sensitise our staff and students on COVID-19 safety awareness and the need for social distancing. We equally planned to develop and implement hygiene protocols for food and service vendors on campus and employ more cleaners in the hostels for regular toilet cleaning,” Tanko added.
On clinical services, the vice chancellor said that the university would provide adequate basic and essential medications, particularly isolation centre and screening services for suspected cases.
Prof. Muhammad Fatihu, Dean Student Affairs, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said that the university would resume in phases to prevent overcrowding in the campus.
Fatihu said that university, with more than 43,000 undergraduate and 11,000 postgraduate students could not afford to ask all the students to resume at the same time without putting them at risk.
“We have decided to phase the resumption for the continuation of the First Semester 2019/2020 academic session by dividing the semesters into two.
“Half of the students will resume and conclude the semester before the second batch resume, while the first batch are at home.
“This we believe will help curb the spread of the virus, while all COVID-19 protocols will be strictly adhered to. We will consider normal school hours when normalcy is restored,” he said.
Also, Dr Jibril Lawal, Registrar, Federal College of Education Zaria, said that the college would use radio to deliver lectures to its students as part of strategies to decongest the school.
Lawal said that the physical lectures would be staggered, explaining that while some students would listen to lectures via radio, others would be attending lectures in classes in controlled numbers.
“This will be rotated among the students from different levels until each level has four weeks of extensive lectures and continuous assessment.
“We will, thereafter, create a period for each level to write the first semester examination for the 2019/2020 academic session. This is what we will continue to do until the situation improves,” he said.
Kaduna Polytechnic, Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic, Zaria, College of Education Gidan Waya and other tertiary institutions in the state also considered resumption in phases.