Sindh suspends in-person classes for two weeks

Decision on reopening educational institutions on Tuesday: Shafqat

KARACHI: The Sindh government on Sunday announced to suspend physical classes from grade one to eight in all public and private schools for 15 days starting April 6.

In a tweet, Education Minister Saeed Ghani said, however, that schools would be able to continue delivering online classes or keep the students engaged through homework and other means.

Soon after the announcement, he also tweeted a notification issued by the provincial school education and literacy department, confirming the same.

In a related development, Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood announced that a meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) will be held on Tuesday to decide on the reopening of educational institutions.

Last month, the government had closed down all educational institutions in several major cities and Islamabad initially for two weeks but later extended until April 11 after a surge in Covid-19 cases there.

“Education and Health Ministers will meet at the NCOC Tuesday to decide whether to open or further close educational institutions,” the minister said in a tweet.

At the time, Shafqat had said that board examinations would take place according to their timetable as giving students the “baseline” grade was no longer an option.

“The exam situation will also be discussed,” he said on Sunday. “Whatever is decided will be a collective decision of the country’s health and education authorities & NCOC.”

In addition to closing schools, the authorities had also withdrawn an earlier decision to lift all restrictions on gatherings in cinemas, indoor weddings, indoor dining, and public places.

He added that coronavirus infections have been on the rise this month, prompting the authorities to reinstate the restrictions, Dr Faisal Sultan, special assistant to the prime minister on health, said at the time.

The country reported 5,020 new coronavirus cases and 81 deaths on Sunday, which took the tally to 687,908 and the death toll to 14,778.

The country is facing a surge in coronavirus disease cases, which the government has said is worse than last year’s outbreak when a nationwide lockdown was imposed.

The government launched a Covid-19 vaccination for the general public on March 10, starting with older people.

The drive began with a focus on the oldest people in the community, generally over the age of 80. “We will work our way down in coming days,” Dr Sultan had told Reuters.

Pakistan has not secured any supplies from vaccine manufacturers and is largely depending on the GAVI/WHO COVAX initiative for developing nations and donations from old friend China.

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