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Saturday Jan 16 2021
Web Desk

Schools in Karachi, Hyderabad should not reopen until COVID-19 positivity ratio falls: Sindh health minister

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

  • Sindh Health Minister Azra Pechuho proposes a delay in the reopening of schools
  • Educational institutes should be reopened only after positivity rate reaches 3%, says Pechuho
  • Attendance of classes 9-10 would remain at 50%, says health minister

Schools and other educational institutes should not be reopened in Karachi and Hyderabad as the cities have a high coronavirus positivity ratio, Sindh Health Minister Azra Pechuho said Saturday.

The health minister's comments come a day after Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood announced the reopening of educational institutions across the country starting from January 18.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi, the health minister said that educational institutes should be reopened only after the positivity rate reaches 3% — which stood at 10% a day earlier in Sindh.

Clarifying that not all educational institutions were reopening, she noted that classes for grades 9-10 would resume from January 18 as their board examinations were nearing.

The health minister, talking about virus curbs, said that the attendance of students of classes 9th and 10th would be kept at 50% as the infection could spread.

"When students sit together in classes it increases the risk of the virus' spread," the health minister said.

Schools in Sindh to reopen according to NCOC decision

A day earlier, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani had said that the schools in the province will reopen in accordance with the National Command and Operations Centre's (NCOC) decision.

The education minister, speaking to the media, said that the classes for students in grades 9-12 would start from January 18, while the rest of the educational institutions will reopen from February 1.

Ghani said that after NCOC's meeting, it was decided that in the first phase, classes 9-12 will resume studies on January 18, while primary to eighth-grade classes and universities would resume studies from February 1.

Ghani noted that the ministers would review the COVID-19 situation and the final decision — before the complete reopening of educational institutions — would be made on February 1.

Meanwhile, according to a notification issued by Sindh's College Education Department, SSC/HSSC exams would be held in May and June.

Here's what the notification mentioned:

  • Intermediate — 11 and 12 — classes of both public and private sector institutions shall resume W.E.F January 18, 2021;
  • The degree classes in colleges shall resume W.E.F February 1, 2021;
  • Board examination of SSC/HSSC shall be held in May/June 2021
  • The teaching/non-teaching staff shall continue to attend their respective institutions for the preparation of the start of classes and discharging their duties of online teaching; and
  • The concerned administration will ensure strict compliance with SOP’s to ensure the safe-reopening of colleges and safe resumption of teaching-learning activities.