Schools in coronavirus hotspot areas to stay closed till April 11

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Shafat Mahmood during press conference

Remain open in Sindh, Balochistan


Staff Reporter
Islamabad

Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood announced on Wednesday that educational institutes in areas with a high incidence of Covid-19, including Islamabad, will remain closed till April 11.

He made the announcement at a press conference after chairing a meeting at the National Command and Operation Centr.

The meeting was also attended by senior officials from the health and education department, and provincial education ministers.

Mehmood said the government will hold a meeting with the Cambridge exams board to see whether examinations can be postponed or not. Board examinations of classes nine to 12 will be held as per the timetable, he said.

We have seen that the number of cases in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Kashmir has increased, he said.

“The number of infections is relatively less in Sindh, Balochistan and Gilgit-Balochistan,” Mehmood said.

The education minister said keeping in view the coronavirus situation, the provincial governments will decide the districts where educational institutions will remain closed. The federal minister said that the next meeting of the education and health ministers will be held on April 7 to review the whole situation. Shortly after Wedneesday’s meeting ended, the provinces announced the areas where schools will remain closed.

Areas other than Islamabad where schools will remain closed are Lahore, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Peshawar, Mardan, Charsadda, Swabi, Kohat, Lower Dir, Malakand, Swat, Nowshera, and
Buner.

“Therefore, it was decided that educational institutions in selected areas, where restrictions were imposed previously, will continue to be closed till April 11,” he said, adding that this applied to schools, colleges, academies and universities alike.

Mahmood stated that the provincial governments will also decide if schools need to be closed down in other areas.

“As you know there were nine districts in Punjab [where schools were closed down], then another was added. We closed schools in
Peshawar and then eight other districts were added.”

He said that the provincial governments will take the necessary steps based on the numbers. “If they wish to call teachers and administrative staff, they can do so.”

The minister said that the forum
will continue to review the country’s coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said that all educational institutions across the province will remain open as usual.

“At present, the situation of coronavirus in Sindh is under control but if SOPs are not implemented, problems may
arise,” a statement quoted him as saying.

Ghani said it was agreed in the NCOC meeting that no student would be promoted to any level without examinations this year.