Schools, universities allowed to reopen in phases starting September 15

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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood said on Monday that educational institutions will reopen across the country in phases starting September 15, as COVID-19 infections continue to decline.Addressing a press conference alongside Special Assistant to Prime Minister Dr Faisal Sultan, the education minister said that the National Command and Operation Centre worked hard and consulted with members of think tanks, specialists, and kept reviewing the situation in the region.”All universities, Higher Education Commission’s (HEC) institutes and colleges will be reopened from September 15,” said Mahmood. “[The government] has allowed for classes of grades IX, X and XI to be conducted [from September 15] as well.”

The minister thanked parents for “patiently waiting” since the past six months, stating that the country is now able to reopen colleges and universities from September 15.

Stressing on the importance of monitoring children’s health, Mahmood said that students of grade VI, VII and VIII will be able to attend classes from September 23.

He said that on September 30, if “situation remains better” primary educational institutions will be allowed to reopen.

“In the next phase, decisions relating to [holding] examinations will be taken,” he said.

Mahmood clarified that vocational and skills-based institutes will also be allowed to reopen from September 15. He said that these included classes that focus on students of grade X and above.

“The reopening of schools is applicable on madressahs, public, private and vocational institutes as well,” said the minister.

The minister warned educational institutes’ management that failure to comply with COVID-19 SOPs would have consequences.

“It’s not easy to say this but if any educational institute is found not following SOPs and procedures, then action will be taken against them,” he said.

“Parents, teachers, schools and different administrations will have to cooperate and everyone will have to cooperate,” he said. “Only then will we be able to succeed [in warding off coronavirus].”

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