Wednesday Nov 18 2020
Web Desk

Coronavirus: Close primary schools from Nov 24 to Jan 31, federal education ministry proposes

Web Desk
A student wears a protective mask maintaining safe distance along with others before entering a class, after government allowed reopening of schools from grade six to eight amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Peshawar, Pakistan September 23, 2020. — Reuters/Files

The Federal Ministry of Education on Wednesday sent proposals to provinces asking them to close primary schools from November 24 to January 31, 2021 as coronavirus cases are on the rise.

The ministry has proposed that primary schools should be closed from November 24, while middle schools should be closed from December 2.

The final decision will be made on November 23 when the provincial education ministers meet to reach a consensus on educational institutions closure in the light of the pandemic. 

The development comes a day after Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani had said that schoolchildren will not be granted winter vacations this year.

Read more: Ban on large gatherings in effect immediately

The provincial minister had said students have been given more holidays than usual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Therefore, there's no question of winter vacations right now," he had said.

He added that a final decision on the matter will be taken during a National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) meeting scheduled for late November.

Ghani’s statement came after Federal Minister of Education Shafqat Mahmood convened a special meeting of education ministers to decide on an NCOC recommendation to announce early and extended winter vacations.

Read more: Punjab imposes smart lockdown in six cities as coronavirus cases surge

Since there was no consensus, a decision on the matter was deferred till next week.

It is pertinent to mention here that for the past six days, Pakistan has recorded more than 2,000 new infections daily.

A total of 2,208 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours, bringing the tally to 363,380. With 37 new deaths, the country's coronavirus death toll reached 7,230.

So far, a total of 325,788 people have recovered from the virus while the active number of cases stands at 30,362.

With 38,544 tests conducted across Pakistan, the positivity rate has reached 5.3%.

NCC makes important decisions 

The National Coordination Committee has imposed an immediate ban on large gatherings as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread in the country.

According to a statement issued, the NCC has imposed a ban on outdoor gatherings that have more than 300 attendees.

Read more: No winter vacations in Sindh schools this year

The NCC said that the management of any event will be responsible for implementing Standard Operations Procedures (SOPs) pertaining to coronavirus.

If the event leads to the spread of the virus, the management will be held responsible.

On marriages, it said that a ban would be imposed on indoor gatherings from November 20 and that only outdoor events will be permitted with an upper limit of 300 people.

Moreover, it said that the NCC would convene a meeting next week to decided on imposing a ban on indoor dining at restaurents, adding that people will be encouraged to eat outdoors or take food home.

Local authorities will ensure that people wear masks in all crowded spaces, the NCC added.