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Pakistan

Web Desk
September 22, 2020

NCOC okays resumption of classes 6 to 8 from Sept 23

Pakistan

Web Desk
Tue, Sep 22, 2020
The ministers had agreed that the schools would open in phases starting with Grade 9 and up, as well as all universities, on September 15, which then were reopened as scheduled. Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on Tuesday allowed the educational institutes to resume secondary classes from September 23 after the country reported a steady decline in the coronavirus cases.

In a meeting of the provincial education ministers earlier this month, it was decided that a phase-wise reopening of schools starting September 15 would be carried out.

The ministers had agreed that the schools would open in phases starting with Grade 9 and up, as well as all universities, on September 15, which then were reopened as scheduled. Classes 6th to 8th were to resume on September 21. Pre-primary and primary classes have been scheduled to resume on September 30.

Sindh, however, decided last week to postpone reopening of secondary schools over fears of the spread of COVID-19 as educational institutes have been observed to have failed in enforcing safety protocols.

According to a statement issued by the NCOC, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood, Interior Minister Brig (r) Ijaz Ahmad Shah, and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, as well as the provincial education ministers and secretary education attended the today's meeting.

No change in Sindh schedule

Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani has clarified that the provincial government will allow the resumption of middle classes from September 28 as announced earlier.

“The decision to postpone the reopening was taken after reviewing the implementation of SOPs in the first phase,” Ghani said.

“We can not take a risk on the health of children.”

SOPs to be strictly followed

Following the announcement, Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas tweeted that all public and private schools would resume classes from tomorrow.

"It is imperative for everyone to follow SOPs issued by School Education Department Punjab," Raas said.

Any school would be closed if a coronavirus case was detected there, he added.

No school to be closed due to positive cases

The director of the Balochistan Education Department also confirmed that all schools — private, government, and semi-government — across the province would reopen tomorrow in the second phase of resumption of educational institutes following the lifting of the coronavirus lockdown.

In the second phase, schools from Grade 6 up to middle-section level, as well as those that were closed due to the coronavirus situation, would be opened tomorrow.

No school will be closed due to positive coronavirus cases in students or staff, the director warned, adding that anyone who contracted the disease shall be quarantined for 14 days.

"Students and teachers will be able to return to school after they test negative for the coronavirus," the official said.

KP opens schools tomorrow

Earlier today, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Minister Shahram Khan Tarakai said that the provincial government has decided to reopen schools from tomorrow.

"We have decided to open schools for class 6 to 8 from tomorrow Insha Allah in the second phase across KP," Tarakai said on Twitter after attending the NCOC meeting.

Late last week, Sindh had announced to postpone the reopening of secondary schools across the province by a week amid a fear of the coronavirus and educational institutes failing to enforce safety protocols.

"Our purpose is not to shut down schools permanently," Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani had said, calling for the educational institutes "to mend their ways when we see them not fulfilling their responsibility".

'Health and safety'

"They should follow through with the commitments made. Following safety protocols is not to be done for our satisfaction. Our children go to these schools.

"It is a question of their health and safety," Ghani had said.

However, the Private Schools Action Committee had slammed the decision, asking PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to enforce the decisions made by the NCOC and the federal government and demanding Ghani resign from his post.

Pervez Haroon, the committee's chairperson, had said shutting down all schools was not justified due to the negligence of a "few", noting that "a protest will be held at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday".