Inter, matric students to go to schools twice a week
The Punjab government has decided to close schools in four more districts across the province as coronavirus metrics continue to rise.
According to a notification issued by the Punjab School Education Department, physical classes in Okara, Bhakar, Jhang, and Khanewal have been suspended.
Students from grades one to eight will be staying home. Their classes will resume after Eid. Those appearing for their matriculation and intermediate exams this year will, however, have to come to school twice a week.
Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas said that classes for grades nine to 12 will be held on Mondays and Thursdays with 50% attendance.
Universities have been instructed to conduct their classes online.
The decision was taken after NCOC chief Asad Umar announced that schools in districts across Pakistan with more than 5% positivity rate will be closed.
Exams for both the local and international board will be taken as per schedule.
Earlier this month, Punjab suspended physical classes for schools in these cities:
All educational institutions across the country were closed in late February 2020 after coronavirus cases began to rise. They were reopened in phases starting September 15, 2020.
On November 23, 2020, after the second wave of coronavirus cases hit the country, the government announced that all educational institutions would close again from November 26, 2020.
Classes were taken online till December 24, 2020, and winter vacations started from December 25, 2020, and were supposed to last till January 10. The government said it would hold a meeting to review the decision to reopen schools on January 4.
The NCOC then decided that schools would reopen in phases with classes nine to 12 being the first to reopen on January 18.
On March 10, the government closed schools in Punjab, Islamabad, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for two weeks in light of the third wave of the coronavirus.
Pakistan has been battling the third wave of coronavirus infections. The virus has so far claimed 16,600 lives in the country, according to official figures. The number of confirmed cases in Pakistan has jumped to 772,381.