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September 21, 2020

‘Decision of reopening educational institutions, marriage halls needs review’

Islamabad

September 21, 2020

Rawalpindi : The coronavirus illness, COVID-19 outbreak that had lost intensity to a significant extent in this region of the country at least from the middle of August to the first week of September has once again started haunting population and the number of patients being reported from the region has been registering a continuous upward trend at least for the last 10 days or so.

As per the announcement made by the federal government on September 7, higher educational institutions including colleges and universities along with schools for 9th and 10th classes have reopened though the spike in number of cases of COVID-19 have put parents in a confusion about whether their children are safe or not in schools, colleges and universities.

Both the private and public schools are going to resume middle classes, from 6th to 8th classes from September 23 in compliance with the government’s directives however a number of parents seem to be reluctant to send their children to schools.

Many health experts have also expressed that the government should review its decision of reopening of educational institutions and marriage halls at a time when the number of cases are going up. The number of patients being tested positive per day on average has almost doubled in last 10 days as compared to the number of patients being confirmed positive in the previous three weeks when educational institutions and marriage halls were closed.

The situation regarding spread of COVID-19 at present is like that of the severity witnessed at the end of July and if it is termed as normal, the educational institutions would have been allowed to operate in the beginning of August, said Muhammad Atif, father of four children.

Many a parents say that the situation is not under control at present but still the government is adamant to reopen schools and marriage halls. The decision amounts to putting lives of thousands of individuals and students at stake as reopening of educational institutions and marriage halls may cause a huge surge in number of patients giving room to virus to spread much faster. The decision of reopening of marriage halls can be termed as foolish at the moment and if government opts for reopening of educational institutions at all levels, it must make arrangements for random testing of school staff and children, said a senior health official serving at the Holy Family Hospital.

Virus may not harm children particularly below 12 years of age but they may become carriers and it may put lives of elderly persons at risk in their homes, he said. The government may wait for another two to three weeks to assess the real situation.

Another senior health official at the district health department said it is not easy for the concerned departments to make possible 100 per cent compliance of SOPs in schools and marriage halls and little negligence may cause huge damage.

He said if the government authorities would opt for sealing of educational institutions including schools, students in the region may not get uniform education.

Many health experts say they are unable to understand that why the government is not working on controlling the situation and bringing the number of confirmed patients to zero before reopening of educational institutions and marriage halls.