Middle Schools to reopen Countrywide except Sindh tomorrow

By Hamid Khan Wazir

ISLAMABAD: The federal and Sindh governments against came face to face as all the educational institutes for grade six to eight students would be reopened in the second phase across the Country except Sindh, which delayed the resumption of education activities in the province for another one week on the excuse of flouting COVID-19 health guidelines in the institutions.

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) in its meeting held with the Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar in the chair in Islamabad on Tuesday gave nod to reopen schools for secondary students across the Country.

Following the decision, Punjab, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa issued notifications on the resumption of middle school classes from tomorrow.

However, the Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said that schools in the province would reopen on September 28.

The NCOC in its declaration stated that the academic sessions of secondary students from Class VI to Class VIII will be resumed across the country from September 23.

Officials of the Ministry of Education informed the meeting that strict implementation of SOPs in being ensured in all educational institutions and they are ready for the second phase.

It added that the schools will be reopened in the second phase as per the scheduled announced by the NCOC for resuming academic activities in the educational institutions.

The Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Minister Shahram Tarakai also announced that middle schools will be reopened from tomorrow.

However, the Sindh government has decided to postpone the second phase of the reopening of educational institutions.

Murad Raas said that it is imperative for everyone to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the Punjab’s School Education Department. He urged for playing their part for making the second phase of reopening schools successful.

Moreover, Shahram Khan Tarakai said that the authorities are satisfied with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in the education centres.

Shahram Khan Tarakai He said that SOPs for schools in rural areas are different from the urban parts. He announced that more than 3,200 middle schools will resume academic activities following the latest decision.

The Balochistan education department said schools in the province would remain open regularly from tomorrow. In a notification, the department said schools that have been sealed previously due to COVID-19 cases among teachers and students would also be allowed to reopen from tomorrow.

In the future too, no school would be closed due to the detection of coronavirus cases. Only the affected teachers and students would have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period, the notification stated.

Contrary to the NCOC decision, Saeed Ghani announced that the second phase of the reopening of middle schools (classes VI to VIII) in Sindh will commence on September 28.

Saeed Ghani said the decision to postpone the resumption of classes six to eight for a week was made keeping in view the ground realities. The government can’t compromise on children’s health until the SOPs are implemented in letter and spirit to keep COVID-19 at bay, he declared.