Students to be called in on alternate days
The National Command and Operation Centre has backed the education ministry’s decision to reopen primary classes and universities from February 1.
On January 18, classes nine to 12 resumed across the country. Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood had said that in-person classes of primary grades and varsities would reopen in February.
In a meeting on Monday, the NCOC approved the decision. Only 50% of students will be allowed to take classes in a day in four major cities — Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Hyderabad, it said.
The forum has decided to reopen the education sector with directives of alternate classes three days a week.
In a press conference earlier this month, Mahmood said the government will closely monitor coronavirus cases and close schools located in virus hotspots.
On the other hand, Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar has assured that a system for vaccinations is being put in place.
“Hundreds of vaccination centres in the country will be administering the COVID vaccine. Inshallah, the vaccination of front line health workers will start next week.”
The countrywide tally of active COVID-19 cases reached on Wednesday 33,820 with 1,563 more people testing positive for the virus. According to NCOC statistics, 74 deaths were reported on Wednesday of which the majority were from Punjab followed by Sindh.
All educational institutions across the country were closed late February after coronavirus cases began to rise. They were reopened in phases starting September 15.
Universities, colleges, and classes IX and X resumed from September 15. Students from classes VI to VIII were called to schools from September 23 and the students enrolled below class VI started from September 30.
To compensate for the lost time, Pakistan’s educational institutions decided to remain open on Saturdays and not have winter vacations.
On November 23, after the second wave of coronavirus cases hit the country, the government announced that all educational institutions would close again from November 26.
Classes were taken online till December 24 and winter vacations started from December 25 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. Primary and higher classes were to be opened on February 1.