By Uche Aguoru
It was very cheering news when Governor Okezie Ikpeazu PhD’ announced a generous gift of 30.000 naira as bursary for students of Abia origin studying at Abia State University Uturu which calmed public uproar that followed the proposed Pandemic Prevention Fee of 15000 naira by the management of the Abia state university, Uturu, reflecting on the importance of the gift as against the health of our wards as they get ready to return to school unprepared amidst this global pandemic, I believe it would have been more appropriate to deploy those funds into acquiring health facilities and equipment needed to ensure the health of those students as they return to school.
There is no doubt that the announcement of Monday the 9th of November 2020 as the resumption date for the school that was forced into an emergency shutdown for more than 6 months occasioned by the global pandemic that ravaged the globe and had forced even strong economies into recess was greeted with very high elation.
I can understand the public anger over the 15000 naira Pandemic Prevention Fee but what I have failed to understand is the politicization of the issue by some people, the truth is that the health of our children returning to school is very important and we must ensure that every necessary measure is put in place to ensure that they are not brought home sick and infected if they return to school.
It is public knowledge that there are basic health conditions set by NCDC that must be complied with before any school can resume studies so as to guarantee the health of every student returning to campus since the covid-19 is still very much around and with us especially now that many countries across the world is experiencing a second wave of the pandemic which many health experts have predicted that it will be more severe than the first wave we experienced.
That was why I think many of us were rather in a hurry to judge and condemn the fee by the school authorities meant to prepare a healthy environment and prevent community transmission of the dreaded virus in the university community.
Let me assume that many of us does not know that the nearest hospital from Uturu is in Umuahia and given the highly infectious nature of the pandemic, outside of the usual hand washing and use of sanitizers there is an urgent need to construct atleast a 30 bed isolation and treatment facility within the school environment and also procure a minimum of two mobile disinfectant chambers placed at the entrance of the school to ensure the health and safety of the students while on campus.
Since the public outcry is against the proposed 15000 naira Pandemic Prevention Fee, I believe it would have been more suited if the government had deployed the proposed 30.000 naira bursary funds into assisting the school to procure the preventive equipment and acquire an isolation center that will insure the health of our children and wards when they return to school.
For us to allow our children to return to school, their health should and must be made a priority.
Writes From Umuahia