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Educational institutions to reopen in phases starting Sept 15: Shafqat Mehmood

ISLAMABAD: Educational institutions will reopen in phases across the country starting September 15 with universities and professional colleges setting the course for schools to reopen later, said Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood, ARY News reported on Monday.

The phase-wise reopening of the education centres, that were shut down following the COVID-19 breakout in March, will commence from next week and all the classes above nine will resume formal education with set Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place.

He said since its opening, coronavirus tests will be conducted in the institutes every 15 days and the masks will be mandatory. “You can even wear masks made of fabric.”

Classes of secondary education ie six, seven and eight, will follow suit a week into the reopening: September 23. He said if all things operate swiftly for 15 days, then all the educational institutions will be reopened.

Mehmood, addressing a press conference alongside Dr Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health, said that all the decisions were taken after profound consideration of the circumstances. He said that the National Command and Operation Centre studied a vast range of forms to resume formal education across Pakistan.

He further said that they are contemplating examination schedules and the decision will be made based on the conclusions of these the contemplations. Moreover, he explained that the decision of resumption from September 15 will be extended to religious seminaries and vocational institutes as well. “All the decisions taken in this regard will apply on seminaries, public and private schools, and all other education systems.”

Read: Govt decides in principle to reopen educational institutions from Sept 15

Mahmood admitted that the decision to close schools was a tough one and so was the one to take their exams amid the shutdown. However, he asserted that the losses suffered in doing so will be compensated.

Dr Faisal added that the situation emerging from the spread of global pandemic coronavirus is now under control. He said that all the precautionary measures to be observed are laid out on the website. However, in order to avoid the spread of the pandemic, it is decided that each class will only accommodate half its students a day. “Out of 40 students, the class will call 20 students one day and the other 20 the other day alternatively.”

The mask will be mandatory and students can wear fabric masks as will. Meanwhile, the students with fever, cough and other likely symptoms are advised to avoid attending schools, the SAPM said. The schools are instructed to take temperatures of those they deem symptomatic, ensure social distancing of their students and that to screen all the students as they enter the premises.

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