Government planning to reopen schools, educational institutions under strict SOPs

Shafqat Mahmood has also scheduled a meeting with the Ministry of Health to discuss the reopening of schools.

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Earlier the Federal Government had decided that the educational institutes will not reopen before August 2020. However, the present scenario prompted them to consider the phase-wise reopening of the schools late in August.

The willingness to consider reopening schools might have stemmed from the fact that, for the first time in four months, the Covid-19 cases have finally shown a downward trend. Health experts are backing this statement, too, as they believe that in August 2020, the peak of coronavirus in the country will end.

On Monday, the Federal Education Minister, Shafqat Mahmood, revealed that if the Government’s plan in this regard goes through, the decision to reopen schools under the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will be made effective.

The Federal Education Minister said:

The Government has sought suggestions from Madaris and private school organizations of all provinces, including Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Shafqat Mahmood has also scheduled a meeting with the Ministry of Health to discuss the reopening of schools. He states that NCOC data will be the basis of any decision in this regard.

The Federal Education Minister further stated:

We are also in contact with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on the Government’s school reopening policy. We want to end the uncertainty surrounding the basic necessity like education.

Considering this, Shafqat Mahmood said that the education ministry is currently undergoing consultation with many other countries who have reopened schools under various SOPS. This action highlights that any decision will be taken after careful consideration.

To strengthen their decision to reopen schools and universities, the Federal Education Minister quoted Gallup Survey, which maintains that around 70% of parents are willing to send their children to school under the SOPs. Moreover, he is of the view that children may follow SOPs effectively.

Once the road map of the institute reopening plan is laid out, Shafqat Mahmood hinted that he might address a press conference to discuss the matter and take parents into confidence.

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