ISLAMABAD: A number of private school associations have demanded the government immediately allow reopening of educational institutes in Islamabad.
The call comes a week after the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training said all educational institutes would remain closed in Islamabad as its positivity was higher than 5%.
The associations said the reopening of educational institutions was conditional to the coronavirus positivity ratio falling below 5%, while the rate of infection in the capital has gone down to 3% in recent days.
"The shutting down of schools in Islamabad, despite a low coronavirus positivity ratio, is upsetting," the associations said.
The associations demanded the government immediately issue a notification allowing the schools to reopen in Islamabad.
On May 22, the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) — the body leading Pakistan's efforts in the fight against coronavirus — had directed provinces to refrain from reopening educational institutions in districts with high COVID-19 infection rates.
The NCOC, in a letter sent to the provinces, said educational institutions in the districts where the coronavirus positivity ratio is high should not reopen on May 24 as was previously decided.
They must instead remain closed till June 6.
"The districts where the infection rate is less — below 5% — can reopen educational institutions (on May 24)," NCOC said in a notification sent to the provinces.
The NCOC has set a cap of 5% positivity ratio for reopening of schools; if a district has an infection rate higher than the limit, educational institutes there are barred from reopening.
A decision on whether or not educational institutes can reopen on June 7 will be taken on June 3, the letter added.
52 districts with high positivity ratio
On May 21, the Federal Education Ministry had said educational institutes in 12 districts of Sindh would remain closed till June 6, as the coronavirus positivity ratio in those districts is higher than 5%.
In a statement, the ministry said the districts include Badin, Dadu, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Sukkur, Shaheed Benazirabad, and all districts of Karachi.
All educational institutions will remain closed throughout Islamabad, the federal ministry had added.
The statement said the positivity ratio is high in 52 districts across Pakistan and so all educational institutes in these areas will remain closed till June 6. This includes four districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir — Muzaffarabad, Poonch, Bagh, and Sadhnaut.
In Balochistan, the positivity ratio is high in Quetta.
In Punjab, it is high in Attock, Bahawalpur, Bhakkar, Dera Ghazi Khan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Khanewal, Khushab, Lahore, Layyah, Lodhran, Mianwali, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Okara, Rahim Yar Khan, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, and Toba Tek Singh.
In KP, 14 districts have a high positivity ratio, including Abbottabad, Bannu, Buner, Charsadda, Lower Dir, Upper Dir, Haripur, Kohat, Karam, Mardan, Nowshera, Peshawar, Swabi, and Swat, and so education institutes here will also remain closed.
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