LAHORE MIRROR (Monitoring Desk)– Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood announced Monday reopening of schools across Pakistan from September 15.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the federal and provincial education departments and has been approved by the National Command and Operation Centre.
The governments of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh submitted their suggestions during the meeting.
Addressing a press conference later, the federal education minister said that the educational institutions will be opened in different phases.
Universities, colleges and class IX and X will resume from September 15. The students from class VI to VIII will be called to schools from September 23 and the students enrolled below class VI will be called in from September 30.
Reopening of Sindh schools in phases
Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani has said that schools in the province will reopen in phases between September 15 and 30 starting from universities and classes nine and 10.
From September 22, classes six to eight will resume sessions and last, primary classes will begin from September 30. Ghani said that if the number of coronavirus cases in any area spikes, the educational institutions in that area will be closed down.
Wearing masks, practicing social distancing and using sanitiser has been made compulsory for all students, teachers and staff members. Students with a flu or cough will not be allowed on campus.
Failure to comply with the SOPs will result in fines for the schools.
Coronavirus tests mandatory for Punjab teachers
Minister Higher Education Punjab Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz said that Education institutions would reopen from 15 September. The Administration of educational institutions would ensure implementation on SOP s, issued by Govt of Punjab.
Minister HED said that there would be no compromise on the health of our children. The instructions to ensure implementation on SOPs have been issued to all heads of educational institutions in Punjab.
After attending inter-provincial education ministers conference through video link in PITB, Minister HED and information technology Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz said that the condition of Covid-19 has been decreased due to better steps of Govt of Punjab, therefore, the Govt. had decided to reopen educational institutions.
Raja Yasir Humayun requested the parents to follow the SOPs and ensure the use of a mask for the security of their kids. Minster higher education also directed all the heads of educational institutions to ensure the implementation on SOPs, to avoid the closure of institutions again.
The Punjab government has made coronavirus tests compulsory for all teachers. The cost of the test will be incurred by the teachers. The tests are, however, not a compulsion for students.
Everyone entering the schools will have to wear a mask at all times and sanitise themselves frequently. According to the education department, half of the students of a class will be called one day and half the other day.
Punjab has advised classes above grade four to be called in first.
Earlier, the federal government had issued a SOPs that schools will have to follow. These include:
- First secondary classes will start first after which primary classes will begin
- The number of students in a class will be reduced, which means that half of the students will attend the session one day and the other half on the other day
- Students will have to wear face masks at all times. Dr Sultan said that it’s better if the masks are made at home
- Social distancing and washing hands should be strictly implemented
- Sanitisers should be installed in schools and students should be encouraged to use them repeatedly
- Every student attending school in-person will have to get tested for coronavirus in two weeks
- Students with lower immunity levels should not be sent to school
- Students will have lunch inside class during breaks
Educational institutions will remain open on Saturdays and will have no winter vacations this year. The institutions have been instructed to hold special classes on Saturdays.
All educational institutions across the country were closed late February after coronavirus cases spiked.
Coronavirus tests of students will be conducted after schools are opened. Teacher and staff members will, however, have to get themselves tested before schools are reopened.
The education department has requested the administration of the schools to cooperate with the government.