Shafqat insists on phase-wise reopening

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood on Friday denied any change in plan over the phase-wise reopening of the schools across the country and  said that a meeting would be held on September 22 before the resumption of other classes of schools in the second phase.
His remarks came after the Sindh government today announced to postpone reopening of schools in the second phase amid a surge in COVID-19 cases across the province.
“Our timetable is not yet changed,” said Shafqat Mahmood adding that they had decided unanimously over the resumption of academic activities in educational institutes in early September.
“Before taking the decision to postpone the second phase, Sindh Minister Saeed Ghani should have taken us into confidence on the matter,” the federal education minister said adding that Sindh had decided on their own without consulting them.
Earlier in the day, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani announced that the academic sessions of Class 6 to 8 will not be resumed in schools across the province as negligence was seen in many educational institutions in the implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) against coronavirus pandemic.
He, however, said that the decision to postpone schools’ reopening for the secondary student was made for only one week.
Ghani added that the provincial authorities will permit schools to resume secondary-level classes from September 28 if the situation remains better.
Saeed Ghani told journalists in a press conference that more than reports of 14,544 COVID-19 tests have been released and the current rate of positive cases stands at 2.4 per cent.
He said that hundreds of employees have not undergone COVID-19 screening tests, whereas, the flaws in the implementation of SOPs in schools were worrisome. He reiterated that it was the most difficult decision to reopen schools after the decline in coronavirus cases as children could not adopt precautionary measures properly as compared to the elder ones.