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Will all students be tested for coronavirus when schools reopen?

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 10, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 weeks ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Sep 10, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 weeks ago
Will all students be tested for coronavirus when schools reopen?

Photo: AFP

Pakistan’s educational institutions are gearing to reopen on September 15 and the government has issued SOPs for both students and schools.

There, however, is still some confusion about some of the precautionary measures, such as compulsory coronavirus tests. Many students and teachers are still confused if all children will have to take the test or just a few of them.

Rawalpindi Deputy Commissioner Anwarul Haq said the condition for compulsory testing only applies to schools where the students live on-campus.

“I don’t think coronavirus tests should be compulsory for all,” he said. Imagine if students are in school for six hours on one day and then get tested the next day and then wait for their results. It will be very impractical, he added.

Schools across Pakistan will reopen from September 15 after almost six months as the country has lifted most of its coronavirus restrictions. The schools were closed late February after coronavirus cases spiked.

Universities, colleges and class IX and X will resume from September 15. The students from class VI to VIII will be called in from September 23 and students enrolled below class VI will be called in from September 30.

Punjab makes coronavirus tests compulsory

The Punjab government has decided that it will conduct pool tests for the novel coronavirus and increase the testing capacity of its laboratories as schools prepare to reopen.

The NCOC ordered authorities to conduct coronavirus tests in different schools in all the provinces, said Captain (retd) Muhammad Usman Younis, the secretary of Punjab’s Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department.

Sample testing will be conducted in 986 high-risk educational institutes in Punjab, he remarked, adding that samples will be taken from 383 education institutes after every 15 days.

Random sampling will be carried in 603 schools, colleges, and universities. Every day, 5,000 tests will be conducted which means 70,000 people will be tested in 14 days.

SOPs for schools

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.

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

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