Covid-19: Likely effects of the new normal on OAU campus

With the high rising number of daily cases discovered, the resumption of academic institutions is not really feasible at the moment and even if resumption is finally declared, every act will surely be restricted to the new normal way of running things.

The ‘new normal’ should no longer seem new to many people who have been following the update of the Covid-19 pandemic nationwide and worldwide. In short, it is just a summary of the things that will probably come in place during the course of reviving various normal activities and economies and during the post covid-19 era.

Focusing our attention on Obafemi Awolowo University, many current activities will surely be affected and many things are most likely deemed to change as part of curbing the spread of Covid-19 in the populace.

Social Distancing: Majority of other below-listed items revolve around this particular item. The usual activity on campus grounds doesn’t limit human contact. People tend to walk so close to eachother while moving on and around campus and despite the implications of this raging virus, to change this particular lifestyle will be harder than assumed.

Illustration of a social distancing measure

Nationwide Curfew: The nationwide curfew of 10pm-5am will most likely be effective for a long time and this may adversely affect the activities of some set of people on campus— trader, lecturers and some students— for instance, some suya sellers on campus operate from 7pm to 10:30pm with the hope of leaving before 11pm but the curfew will restrict them from leaving campus any time from 10pm. It’s most likely the normal time the university entrance is open and shut gets changed due to the new curfew effect.

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Transport: Motorcyclists don’t have issues with this as they have been operating on an indirect social distancing rule from way back but bus drivers will surely have issues with this new normal. The regular 10-man passenger buses and 14-man passenger buses will most likely turn to 5-man passenger and 7-man passenger buses respectively in order to observe the social distancing rule and this effect may lead to hike in prices from various bus stops outside campus so the university should be prepared for this to ensure students are not exploited drastically.

Constant disinfection of Buildings: Most touched things such as door handles, furniture, pavement railings amongst others in campus buildings might have to be disinfected every certain hours to limit the risk of covid-19 spread in the university and this which seems impossible will definitely affect and slow down many daily activities on campus.

Students’ Union Building

Academic Activities: Academic activities will surely be affected due to the probable change in many existing protocols such as lecture room capacity, timetables, tests and examinations, practicals, presentations amidst other acts which would surely flout the social distancing rule on a daily basis.

Interior of the ICT building exam hall

Sporting Activities: These will also be affected if the ban on them are not lifted. Football undoubtedly is the most played sport on OAU campus and the high risk of contracting the virus through it can not be curtailed if the ban is lifted or if necessary precautions are not taken. Sports is a part of most students’ lives and if banned for too long, students may resort to other methods of engaging in their preferred sports.

Main bowl segment of the sports complex

Campus Events: Events such as Inaugural lectures, Convocation, Conferences, Crusades, Shows etc held on campus attract a lot of crowd and the ban of these events may continue and in the process altering some inspiring programs that can change mindset of some students.

An event at Amphitheatre

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Religious Activities: Even though the ban on this has been lifted, the large number of worshippers at the fellowships, churches, mosques and the central mosque will be reduced drastically and new measures will be formed. Restrictions will definitely be on ground to prevent them from flouting the social distancing rule.

A religious gathering

Halls of Residence: Hustling and bustling within halls of residence is a regular day to day activity which I fear can not be contained if certain measures are not put out to ensure compliance. So things may still change despite the low population of those that were alloted hostels.

A segment of Fajuyi Hall

Teaching and Research farm: This is one of the places full of activities on campus. With a lot of staff and students being at the school farm for necessary daily fieldwork, social distancing may seem difficult to effect but a likely expansion of the farm may still not be able to solve it as farming/ food production is not something to be taken lightly in all phases of life to ensure one of the SDGs, Zero Hunger.

A segment of the OAU Teaching and Research farm

Hezekiah Oluwasanmi library: HOL is also one of the most crowded places on campus. Despite having different wings, they are most times filled to the brim hereby disregarding social distancing rule. Some measures will surely be meted out to ensure compliance in that aspect.

Main entrance of Hezekiah Oluwasanmi Library

Viewing Centres: This is not a campus case but it is an issue that affects students. Now that football has been restored in major leagues across the world, students will definitely troop out in mass to watch various matches in viewing centres as it is also an avenue for different points of football discussions and other related matters. No matter the ban placed on viewing centres, I can affirm it may not fully work but some may be scared of contracting the virus from somewhere like that and that could reduce the rate at which students patronise the centres.

A typical example of a viewing centre

Health Centre: Tagged as ‘Death Centre’ by some OAU students, the rate at which the health centre will be visited by students may reduce drastically as many might be scared of what could occur if they visit the place due to the high risk of contracting Covid-19.

Frontal view of the OAU health centre complex

It’s been exactly 85 days since all academic institutions have been shut down by the Federal Government as part of efforts to curtail the spread of coronavirus but cases seem to keep increasing on a daily basis despite all measures that has been laid down. Academic calendar has been affected drastically as this week could have been the end of lecture week with exams starting next week but ‘Man proposes, God disposes’. We hope this critical phase passes on and all things get restored as soon as possible.

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