Coronavirus in Pakistan: No decision on closure of schools, early winter vacations, says Shafqat Mahmood

The education ministers will meet again on November 23 to review the situation, says federal minister

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The total cases in Pakistan as of Saturday were 359,032, with total deaths at 7,160. Photo: Geo. tv/File

ISLAMABAD: A decision on early and extended winter vacations, in view of the rapidly increasing number of coronavirus cases in the country, has been deferred till November 23.

Read more: Coronavirus and winter vacations for schools: What options were discussed in education ministers meeting?

This was announced by the Ministry of Federal Education/Professional Training after Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood convened a special meeting to deliberate the plan of action of educational institutes with provincial education ministers. 

According to the statement, provincial ministers apprised the forum about the latest coronavirus situation and the impact on the education sector in their regions, but no final decision was taken about vacations and closure of schools.

The Inter-Provincial Education Ministers' Conference (IPEMC) will meet again on November 23 at 11:00 am to review the situation.

Apart from the education ministers, the meeting was also attended by officials of health ministries and the National Command and Operations Centre.

KP Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education Shahram Khan Tarakai also confirmed that the schools will remain open in a tweet. 

Earlier today, Punjab Minister for School Education Dr Murad Raas had said that the decision on school closure would be deferred till next week.

“No decision made on closure of Schools in Punjab today. The next meeting will be on Monday 23rd November 2020 for further review of the COVID 19 situation,” said Murad Raas. “All options are being discussed. No immediate decision for now.”

Today's meeting had been called last week following the National Command and Operations Centre's (NCOC) recommendation to announce early and extended winter vacations for schools due to the rising positivity rate in educational institutes.

The NCOC had said that Mehmood would chair a special session with provincial education ministers on November 16 on the matter. 

COVID-19 in Pakistan

For the fourth consecutive day, Pakistan reported over 2,000 cases in 24 hours. A total of 2,128 new cases were recorded on November 15, bringing the nationwide tally to 359,032. A total of 19 lives were lost in the past 24 hours while the number of active cases shot up to 28,048.