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Wednesday June 19, 2024

Punjab closes schools from 25th amid heatwave

Decision about schools’ closure was made following Schools Minster Punjab Rana Sikandar Hayat consulted stakeholders via social media

By News Desk & our correspondents
May 21, 2024
The picture shows students walking towards their school. — Online/File
The picture shows students walking towards their school. — Online/File

LAHORE: Amid surging temperatures across the country and in view of prediction of heatwaves in next weeks, the Punjab government has announced closing schools for seven days, with effect from May 25.

The School Education Department (SED) Punjab Monday announced that all public and private schools would remain closed for seven days with effect from May 25. As the department has already announced annual summer break starting from June 1, the summer break will now, in fact, start from May 25, allowing schools to meanwhile complete ongoing or planned exams.

The decision about schools’ closure was made following Schools Minster Punjab Rana Sikandar Hayat consulted stakeholders via social media. As per a notification, issued in this regard, schools would remain closed from May 25 to 31, 2024. However, schools will be allowed to conduct examinations as per schedule, with necessary precautions to ensure safety of students.

The SED Punjab announced annual summer vacation on May 17 for public and private schools from June 1, 2024 to August 14, 2024. It also issued a notification about revised working hours of educational institutions, both public and private, before the summer vacation, in view of severe weather conditions.

As per the notification, the schools will open from 7am to 11:30am from Monday till Thursday and Saturday; while 7am to 10:30am timing would be observed on Fridays. Separately, the Sindh government postponed the intermediate exams for one week due to an imminent heatwave. The exams, which were earlier scheduled for May 22, would begin from May 27.

A decision to this effect was taken by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on the request of the universities and boards department. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) issued guidelines to the institutions concerned for preventing bad effects of heatwaves on human health, animals and crops. PDMA Director General (DG) Irfan Ali Kathia issued instructions to the district administrations to be on alert to deal with any emergency situation.

From May 21 to 27, severe heatwave is expected in Punjab. The DG said there was a risk of severe heatwave in the major cities of Punjab and especially the districts of south Punjab. He directed the deputy commissioners to ensure provision of facilities for heatwave prevention at public places.

The district administrations had been directed to conduct public awareness campaigns through helpline numbers and making announcements in mosques. DG Kathia said that through print, electronic and social media, citizens should be made aware of the dangers of heatwave. Farmers should be informed about the effects of heatwave on crops.

The Local Government department should ensure water supply at public gathering places. People should be educated about heatwave through banners at bus stands and railway stations. The DG issued instructions to veterinary care centres to remain operational for 24 hours a day. Clean water supply should be ensured at animal market locations.

The PDMA Punjab directed the health department to cancel leaves of doctors and paramedical staff and set up heatwave counters in hospitals. Availability of medicines should be ensured for the first aid of people affected by heatwave, he added.

Instructions were also issued to set up mobile health units at public places and medical campuses on a permanent basis. People were advised to keep their heads covered in the sun and drink plenty of water. The PDMA guidelines said people suffering from heart disease should be careful not to go out in the sun.