LAHORE: Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas on Thursday announced schools in the province will open from tomorrow, January 7 2022.
The minister took to Twitter to make the announcement and welcomed the students back to school on the Punjab Ministry of Education’s behalf.
Raas requested the school administrations and students to adhere to the coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the government.
Last month, a week after announcing the winter vacations for schools — public and private — across the province from December 23, 2021 to January 6, 2022, the Punjab government had notified a revised winter vacation schedule, with separate dates for the various districts of the province that were not witnessing particularly high levels of smog.
According to a notification by the School Education Department, all public and private educational institutions in Kasur, Sialkot, Narowal, Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Gujrat, Gujranwala, Pakpattan, Sheikhupura, Okara, Vehari, Khanewal, Lahore, Khushab, Hafizabad, Multan, Lodhran, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Sargodha, Mandi Bahauddin, Sialkot, Nankana Sahib and Jhang were to observe holidays from December 23 to January 6, as smog levels in these districts were higher than others.
On the other hand, educational institutes in Jhelum, Mianwali, Attock, Muzaffargarh, Chakwal, Bhakkar, Rawalpindi, Rajanpur, Layyah, Rahim Yar Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, and Chiniot, where smog levels are lower are observing winter vacations till January 13 and the vacations started January 3. In the meantime, vaccination drives will continue in schools.
Rain washes away smog
Meanwhile, the recent spell of rain has partially cleaned some parts of Punjab by washing away smog and air pollutants gripping the province for the last few months.
Punjab Environment Protection Agency issued the Air Quality Index for Thursday, according to which the province witnessed lower levels of smog and pollutants.
The provincial capital, Lahore which has been choking on smog lately, ranked 8th on the world’s most polluted cities with an air quality index (AQI) of 167 on Thursday.
The smog levels are expected to drop as the Pakistan Meteorological Department has forecast more downpours over the next two days.
According to the Punjab EPD, the AQI of Township Sector 2 and Sundar State was 169, which was followed by National Hockey Stadium having an AQI of 157, Town Hall had an AQI of 104, Raheem Yar Khan 103, Faisalabad 55 and Rawalpindi 13.