Saturday Jul 24, 2021
KARACHI: Private school associations have rejected the Sindh government's decision to close schools amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and convened a meeting on Monday to decide the future course of action.
The Sindh government has reimposed lockdown restrictions after the COVID-19 positivity ratio crossed 10% and closed schools and other sectors from July 26 to curb the spread.
Aleem Qureshi of the Grand Alliance of private school associations said the provincial government should announce a clear and unequivocal policy regarding educational institutions because schools and universities were supposed to start new academic sessions in August.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the academic year is being affected for the third consecutive year. The Provincial Task Force on COVID-19 should consult stakeholders instead of making unilateral decisions,” he said, according to a report published in The News.
Qureshi suggested that the task force consider Punjab-style summer vacations till July 31 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “Closing the schools and colleges is not the solution as it is the time for new admissions,” he said.
He pointed out that as 80% of the staffers of private schools had been vaccinated, the risk of COVID-19 spread due to schools was very low. He maintained that private schools had been strictly following COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Closing educational institutes will increase the number of out-of-school children in Sindh, which had increased from four million to six million during the last two years, he remarked.
He said that an emergency meeting of all provincial private school associations will be held on July 26 to discuss the future action plan.
“In Sindh, as many as 3,000 schools have been closed and 200,000 people have lost their jobs. Everyone acknowledges that SOPs are implemented in educational institutions.”
He asked that if shops and factories could remain open for 12 and 24 hours, why were the authorities interested in the closure of educational institutions. "When no other sector has been closed, they cannot not let schools be closed," he said.