ISLAMABAD – Thousands of schools and colleges across Pakistan have reopened today (Tuesday) after remaining closed for more than six months (187 days) due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the government, masks will be mandatory for all teachers and students, while schools, colleges, and university administrations will ensure availability of sensitizers at the entry gates.
Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood on September 07, while announcing the reopening of schools, colleges, and universities, had said all the educational institutions would be reopened in three phases to avoid another wave of the virus.
As per the decision taken by the government, educational institutions from grade nine to onwards have reopened today and if the pandemic situation remain controlled, then students in grade six to eight will return to school on September 23, while students in nursery to grade five will return to classes on September 30.
Religious seminaries across the country have also reopened. Similarly, the vocational and technical institutions started functioning as well.
– Welcome Back –
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan welcomed students on first day of opening of educational institutions.
Faisal Sultan, in a tweet today emphasized on implementation of SOPs and said “Please don’t forget basic protective steps such as masks, reduced density in classes and hand hygiene.”
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry thanked Allah Almighty that children have returned to educational institutions.
The minister took to Twitter and wrote, “It took months to reopen schools because the [coronavirus] pandemic was so deadly. Thank God our children have returned to educational institutions today.
“I thank education ministers and authorities for taking all decisions keeping in mind the precautions and safety measures. May God give long life and good fortune to children of all! Amen.”
– Not an Easy Decision –
Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood warned of closing educational institutions which will be found violating SOPs designated to prevent spread of coronavirus.
Talking to media, the minister said that reopening of educational institutions was not an easy decision. Safety and wellbeing of students from arrival at the institutions till return to their houses is government’s top priority, he expressed.
Shafqat Mahmood further said that the authorities have also been directed to monitor implementation of SOPs in buses and vans. Precaution is the only way to get rid of this deadly virus, he added.
– NCOC urges parents, teachers to ensure SOPs compliance –
Earlier on Monday, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) urged the parents and teachers to comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued for the safety of students amid reopening of the educational institutions across the country.
In a statement, the NCOC called upon the administrations of educational institutions to ensure proper implementation of health guidelines such as mask-wearing, social distancing to keep the coronavirus at bay.
“InshAllah (By the Will of Almighty Allah), all educational institutions are being opened in phases from September 15. Parents and teachers are requested to pay special attention to the given safety guidelines while sending their children to schools.”
It asked the parents to abstain from sending children to school if they show signs of cough or illness. “If the condition is worse, the child should be tested immediately.”
It should also be ensured that children wash their hands regularly or use a hand sanitizer.
The bus drivers who take children to school or college should ensure social distance in their vehicles. They should make sure that the children were wearing face masks while aboard in the bus or car.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan said we will welcome millions of children back to school on Tuesday.
The premier took to Twitter on Monday and said it is our priority and collective responsibility to ensure that every child can go to school safely to learn.
We have worked to ensure that school operations are aligned with public health safety rules on COVID-19, he added.