INSIDE STORY: DESPITE ‘Guidelines’, UI Community flouts COVID-19 Protocols (Series 2)

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By Tijani Abdulkabeer

Despite the rising COVID-19 cases, most especially with the presence of the deadly delta variant, a more recent observation reveals the continuous failure of some groups on campus to show evidence of strict compliance with the protocols to be observed.

Meanwhile, following the loss of three Professors of the institution, the management in a statement issued on August 15 by the Registrar, Olubunmi Faluyi confirmed the increasing number of coronavirus cases on the main campus of the University, its College of Medicine, and teaching hospital. It then adopted a blended model of teaching for this semester in a bid to curtail the spread.

Though the University did not confirm the cause of the death, it was reportedly gathered that they died of Covid-19.  Findings by this reporter revealed that there is a more worrisome health concerns amongst students. While some have turned out to be positive Coronavirus cases, the results of many others are not known yet.

The Weird Experience

In the early morning of Friday 13th, 2021, Matthew and Jellil (Not real names), both first-year students were moving out of the large lecture theatre of the Faculty of the social sciences when a young lady, also a member of their class approached them.

Despite the protocols, Matthew was going to open his arm and give a hug when this lady rejected him. He recounted to this reporter that the statement from her thereafter was what he described as “Weird Experience”.

“I have tested positive for coronavirus. Please where do I isolate myself”, the girl said, facing the duo ss she was convinced that she already contracted the virus.

Worried by the statement of this lady, Jellil explained that he had to run far away for some minutes and only returned when he was sure the lady was out of sight.

Meanwhile, Matthew continued the conversation with disbelief. He asked her, “How come you tested positive and you are not being isolated immediately? Though she couldn’t give a response, I pointed her to the school clinic for proper medications and guidance.”

Botanical Garden: FATSSA AMAPIANO Party

On 21 August 2021, the executives of the Faculty of the Social Sciences organized a picnic for students of the faculty. The picnic announced on the faculty press website was tagged “AMAPIANO” and held accordingly at the Botanical Garden, University of Ibadan.

Though, on the flyer, there was an inscription that said, “No Nose Mask, No entry” but revelations from a viral video of the event shows that the rules were violated. 

Against the guidelines of the University Research Committee, the attendees were seen (male & female) dancing to the music unconsciously without their nose masks. It was observed that only one person had the Nose Mask down the chin, there was no social distancing. Further observations showed that perhaps the nose mask was only a gate pass to enter the garden, and once entered, they yank them off to keep in their pockets or bags.

Death of Lecturers

As Nigeria continues to battle coronavirus cases, the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force has uncovered the virulent Delta variant of the virus in the state, and following this announcement some few weeks ago, the state government notified the public of the need to take extra caution and consistently apply all advisories earlier released by the task force.

Regrettably, as the cases continued to intensify, one of such lecturers the University community lost to the battle was Professor David Olaleye of the department of Virology who was said to be a key part of the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force. According to the statement released by the college of medicine on his passing away, it was confirmed that he died of complications from the disease.

The statement read in part, “The entire College of Medicine, University of Ibadan (CoMUI) community was thrown into mourning on Tuesday 27 July 2021 at the news of the sudden death of a foremost researcher, teacher, and mentor, Professor Olufemi David Olaleye FAAS. It is extremely hard to believe that one of our Nation’s foremost virologists, an extremely brilliant, and outspoken researcher had passed on in the heat of the COVID-19 battle.”

Meanwhile, Professor Anthony Ologbobo of the department of animal science in the faculty of agricultural science and Professor Bankole Oke of the Department of Veterinary Medicine with specialization in veterinary anatomy were also reported to have died of this virus.

However, findings by PREMIUM TIMES show that these Professors were not vaccinated before their death.

“Our findings have shown that they were not all vaccinated. The virologist too was not yet vaccinated before his death,” the source told PREMIUM TIMES.

COVID-19: CASES AMONG STUDENTS.

Towards the end of last semester, rumours were making the rounds that some students in some unspecified Faculties have tested positive for coronavirus but why the Faculty Management were silent, findings by this reporter reveals that some health concerns have turned out to be positive.

When this reporter visited the Faculty of the Social Sciences, a random chat with a student of the Faculty showed that there was a case of a student who tested positive at Independence Hall. It was revealed that after days of disparity that surrounds his health challenges, he was sent to Olodo Isolation Centre while further findings show that he has been discharged.

Speaking on this issue, the Sub-Dean of the Faculty of the Social Sciences, in a recent interview with the Faculty press crew responded to the cases surrounding the Faculty.

He said, “As the sub-dean of the faculty, they confirmed that there were three cases, one from political science, the guy has been released. The guy was tested positive and sent to the Olodo Isolation center and was discharged. Then two from psychology, last week it was reported that two of them have been discharged.”

Meanwhile, last week, there was a growing report that a student from the Faculty of Arts tested positive for the virus. When this reporter visited the Faculty, the findings drew this closer to the truth.

A reliable source in the Faculty who spoke on anonymity confirmed the case. The source said, “Truly, he tested positive and I heard it too.” However, further findings reveal that the affected student himself announced this development on his WhatsApp status and class group.

Reacting on this issue, the Faculty of Arts students President, in a Phone Conversation with this reporter explained that the case as rumored also turned out to be false. He recounted that when he spoke with the victim, he told him that it was a joke.

“When I heard about the case, I spoke with him and he said he never tested positive.” He said.

When this reporter spoke to the victim on the phone, he did not respond to question. He said, “I don’t want to have this conversation” and hung up the call abruptly.

More so, a user on a WhatsApp group named, “UI Students Heads’ Group” also dropped a message on the group that raises alarm on some possible cases and the self-care being sought for.

“Good evening. There are some students that just tested positive for Covid Test, and they stay off-campus. I’m surprised they are isolating in an Agbowo hostel, and Jaja is not doing any contact tracing.”

A UCJUI Correspondent reached out to this user on the phone, he failed to respond to questions and when he was sent a direct message on Whatsapp he said, “Oh no, I can’t. It’s confidential.”

VIRTUAL CLASSES

In reaction to the increasing cases, the University stated that the current health situation calls for a review of the mode of teaching and learning.

It also noted that the University community should ensure strict compliance with the protocols to be observed.

The statement reads in part: “This is to inform the University community that management has requested the faculties to identify the courses to be taught online and those to be taught physically en route to the commencement of the blended mode of teaching and learning for the remaining part of the second semester of the 2020/2021 session.”

The registrar explained that the decision was taken in implementation of the proposal submitted by the Emergency Remote Teaching Committee (ERTC) to the Committee of Provosts and Deans (CoPD), at a meeting which was held on August 11.

The statement added: “More cases of Covid-19 are being announced nationwide. These call for caution and proactive actions which should take into consideration, in the main, the review of the mode of teaching and learning in the second semester and, as a consequence, provide a safe way to undertake pedagogical activities on Nigerian university campuses,” adding that “The ERTC platforms and tools (LMS, zoom, youtube, gsuite accounts, telegram fora, solution clinics) should be maintained for use by students and staff in all cases.”

The University also said that if the cases worsen on campus, full online engagement should be mounted for all courses, exempting only departments and units with special needs with the condition that evident strict compliance with the protocols will be observed.

 

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