The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) called another huddle of all the provincial education ministers earlier today to review the school reopening modalities amid changing COVID-19 situation in the country, which the doctors are naming the third wave of the novel coronavirus.
The meeting took place at the NCOC headquarters in Islamabad with Federal Minister for Education and Professional Trainings, Shafqat Mahmood, in the chair.
Announcing the decisions taken in the meeting, the education minister highlighted that there was a surge in COVID infections but maintained that the situation is not as bad as it was in November-December.
Schools, colleges, and universities in Faisalabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Multan, Gujrat, and Sialkot will be closed from Monday till 28th March.
All schools, colleges, and universities will remain closed in the mentioned cities while the alternative day policy i.e. 50% attendance will be followed in Sindh and Balochistan.
The move to revisit the decision regarding schools has come just days after the government announced they were going back to regular 5-6 days a week classes from the first of this month.
Note that all the educational institutions across the country had been reopened from the first of February after a two-month closure due to the second coronavirus outbreak in October-November.
Other NCOC Decisions
Addressing the press conference, Dr. Faisal Sultan said the meeting has decided to continue the ban on the activities at indoor venues, i.e., wedding, dining, till April 15th due to the rising number of cases.
Dr. Faisal said a sharp rise in coronavirus cases has been witnessed since February and stressed upon adhering to COVID-19 SOPs. He said that smart lockdowns have been re-enforced in areas where the number of coronavirus cases is surging.
He said that the 50% work from home policy will be implemented at the discretion of federating units. However, it will be enforced in ICT with immediate effect. The time limit of 10:00 PM on all commercial activities will be re-enforced with immediate effect, barring essential services.