Punjab’s Education Minister, Murad Raas, has said that educational institutes will be shut down immediately if the COVID-19 situation across the country worsens.
His remarks have come days before the scheduled reopening of the schools across the country.
Murad noted during a visit to a university in Lahore that the students had suffered greatly due to the pandemic, following which he stated that the schools will operate at 50 percent student attendance after a soft reopening because many of them lack the capacity to run on double shifts.
More than 122,000 schools are operating in Punjab, we cannot have two shifts — morning and evening.
The inter-provincial meeting of the education and health ministers that was convened with the Federal Minister, Shafqat Mahmood, in the chair has decided to reopen schools for classes 9 to 12 and O and A-Level from 18 January. Middle schools will now be reopened on 1 February along with the universities instead of on 25 January.
Minister Raas tweeted this announcement on Friday.
Schedule for all schools of Punjab: 9,10,11,12 classes to open on January 18th, 2021. Primary, Middle and Universities will be opening on February 1st, 2021. The situation is being monitored daily for the safety of our students and teachers and their families.
— Murad Raas (@DrMuradPTI) January 15, 2021
Strict Compliance with SOPs
The provincial minister for Education also assured students’ parents of strict compliance with the COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) and urged them to send their children back to school.
He declared in a video message:
We are reopening schools from 18 January, and in the first phase, the students of high school will resume classes. In the second phase, the students of the primary and elementary schools will resume in-person learning, while universities will start classes from 1 February.
He maintained that no other sector had shown more discipline for regulating schools in the implementation of the COVID-19 SOPs, and informed the parents that the government had remained vigilant on this throughout the period while the educational institutes had been opened previously.