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Sunday December 05, 2021

Schools, colleges to reopen from 15th

Shafqat said the decision was taken after thoroughly analyzing regional and global trends of the outbreak, extensive consultations by the ministries of Education and Professional Training, and National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination with the federating units, coupled with the NCOC research

By APP
September 08, 2020

Schools, colleges to reopen from 15th

ISLAMABAD: The government Monday announced to reopen educational institutions across the country from September 15 under strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) after the country witnessed a significant decrease in the novel coronavirus cases.

Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood formally announced the decision during a televised media briefing at the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan.

Shafqat made the announcement after chairing a meeting of the Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference. Highlighting the main points, Shafqat said the educational institutions would be reopened in phases.

Initially, university, intermediate (11th and 12th) andsecondary (9th and 10th) classes would resume from Tuesday, September 15, he added. In the second phase, he said, the students of sixth, seventh and eighth classes would be allowed to attend their schools on September 23, while primary classes (one to five) would restart on September 30.

It was really a difficult and tough decision to reopen the educational institutions, he said, adding that constant monitoring of the first phase would be carried out before commencing the second and third ones.

The minister said the decision was taken after thoroughly analyzing regional and global trends of the outbreak, extensive consultations by the ministries of Education and Professional Training, and National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination with the federating units, coupled with the NCOC research.

He clarified that the decision would be applicable to all the educational institutions of both public and private sectors, besides vocational centers and seminaries enabling millions of students to resume studies.

Shafqat Mahmood said the government had to take difficult decisions during the lockdown including promotion of around four million students of higher secondary classes to the next classes.

Thanking the parents of students for showing perseverance during the difficult times, he urged teachers and school administration to fully cooperate with the government and ensure compliance of the anti-COVID SOPs at their institutions.

He warned the school administrations of strict action in case of non-compliance. Meanwhile, addressing a press conference at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Faisal Sultan said the government would ensure strict implementation of health screening, COVID-19 surveillance, sentinel testing, and continuous monitoring in educational institutions after their reopening from September 15.

Faisal said the main objective of regular sentinel testing was to monitor the corona situation and to examine the health of teachers and children at schools every two weeks. He said further decisions would be made on reviewing the situation on the basis of test reports on scientific means.

He made it clear that all the schools would have to strictly follow the SOPs like social distancing, hand sanitizing or washing, wearing of facemask etc.

He said besides the school administrations, the role of parents was also crucial to ensure implementation of the SOPs.

He said there had been a lot of debate in the world and in Pakistan on the sequence of opening schools but after looking at all factors including the strength of students in schools and the condition of schools in Pakistan, it was collectively decided that the higher education institutes would be opened first followed by second and then primary schools.

“School administrations, teachers and parents will have to adhere to the instructions after reopening of institutions,” he said, adding that the number of students in a class would be reduced.

Half of the students would attend the class one day and the rest next day to avoid spread of the disease. He said there was no need to purchase expensive masks for children and suggested parents to make homemade fabric mask for schoolgoing children, which were washable and reusable.

He said students with low immunity level or suffering from fever, cough should avoid attending schools in the first phase. He said due to immediate closure of schools, a large number of population, particularly students, were now safe from the COVID-19.

Dr Faisal said facts and figures showed the declining trend of the coronavirus at all levels due to prompt response of the government. Expressing satisfaction over the current COVID-19 situation, he said it all was made possible due to team efforts and the efficient work of all departments and organizations concerned.