Phase-wise reopening of educational institutions from Jan 18: Shafqat Mahmood

ISLAMABAD, Jan 04 (APP):The Federal government on Monday announced phase-wise reopening of the educational institutions from January 18, closed on November 26, 2020 as a precautionary step to combat COVID-19 in the country.

This was announced by the Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood along with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health, Dr Faisal Sultan in a joint press conference here after taking final decision at National Command and Operation Center (NCOC).

The administrative and teaching staff was allowed to rejoin their institutions from January 11 after the end of the winter vacations.

The secondary and higher secondary students having boards’ examinations, contrary to online, were allowed to resume physical classes at their respective institutions.

While all the universities and higher education institutions will resume their classes from February 1st, 2021, the minister said.

The board exams scheduled in March and April, he said, had been delayed and would now be held in May-June. This step was taken to give students more preparation time, lost due to the closure of institutions amid COVID, he added.

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Shafqat Mahmood said that the decisions were taken in the Inter Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC) in consultation with all other stakeholders.

IPEMC meeting was unanimous to open up education sector across the country, he added.

The minster said the children’s health was incumbent government’s top priority and another review of the COVID situation on January 14-15 would be made before opening of the educational institutions.

Earlier, in his talk, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr Faisal Sultan said that the country was witnessing

downward trend on corona cases in second wave mainly due to timely decision of closure of the educational institutions.

Dr Faisal said that strict preventive measures were adopted to avoid further spread of coronavirus in the country and ensuring implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

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Ban on public gatherings, marriages halls and restaurants resulted in to decrease of number of corona cases.

He also commended National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) for efficient work against the pandemic.

He also acknowledged the role of frontline health workers and concerned federal and provincial public and private institutions for playing remarkable role to combat COVID-19.

He said that strategies were made to control corona keeping in view the global information, focusing on data with integration of local data in a scientific way. Input from concerned stakeholders was also considered to avoid any missing aspect, he added.

He advised the citizens to continue following the social distancing, use of mask and other precautionary measures to stop further increase of local transmission of COVID-19 in the country.