Primary schools allowed to resume classes from Sept 30 across Pakistan


ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday allowed the primary schools to resume classes from September 30 after reviewing the COVID-19 situation in the country.

Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood, after attending a meeting at the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC), said the decision to reopen schools has been taken with consensus.

“We took the decision after we saw 0.8% positive rate after reopening educational institutes in the country,” the minister said, adding that the authorities will continue to monitor the situation and any carelessness in the implementation of the COVID-19 SOPs will be dealt with sternly.

The federal education minister assured the parents that the government took the step after meticulous research and inspection.

Shafqat Mahmood further said that it was the collective effort of parents, administrators and teachers that allowed the government to take the decision.

Stressing upon the need to adhere to the SOPs, the minister said that young children cannot take care of themselves properly so wearing of face mask and density of the students in the classroom should be maintained.

On September 15, universities and colleges and 9th and 10th grade students had resumed on-campus learning, however, students of classes 6th, 7th and 8th returned to classrooms on September 22 after a six-month break. 

Sindh had delayed the recommencement of middle classes by a week but allowed the schools to reopen after reviewing the pandemic situation.

The students of primary and pre-primary classes are scheduled to return to schools from September 30.

Spokesperson of the Balochistan government, Liaquat Shahwani on Monday said that the provincial authorities have decided to propose a 15-day delay in the reopening of primary schools in today’s meeting of the NCOC.

The statement from the spokesperson came after Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan reported the highest positivity rates in the country over the last week.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports, the test positive percentage in Balochistan registered a spike of 11.9% in a single day on September 23, which fell to 7.8% on September 26.

A positivity rate is the percentage of coronavirus tests performed that return back positive. In May, the WHO recommended that the percent positive should remain below 5% for at least two weeks before governments can consider reopening.

However, Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood said about 1% COVID-19 rate has been witnessed in educational institutions and that was satisfactory for the government, adding that institutes were being re-opened with strict implementation of SOPs.

The minister said the government’s action against coronavirus was being appreciated internationally.

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