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COVID-19: Pakistan announces phased reopening of schools from January 18

Educational institutions have been shut to curb the spread of coronavirus

Islamabad: Pakistan’s education minister on Monday announced a phased reopening strategy for the country’s schools, colleges and universities from January 18.

All educational institutions across the country were shut second time in the year 2020 from November 26 till early January to reduce the risk of students getting infected during the second wave of the corona-virus, which experts feared peaked during the winter season.

When the schools open this year, the students in classes nine to 12 would be the first to resume from Jan 18, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood announced in a press briefing in Islamabad. In the next phase, classes one to eight would resume on January 25. All higher educational institutions and universities classes would begin from February 1, he added.

Schedule of reopening:

January 18 – Classes 9 to 12 to resume

January 25 – Classes 1 to 8

February 1 – Higher educational institutions

Teachers and administrative staff would be allowed to return to schools from January 11, the education minister said.

Detailing the decisions taken during the meeting, Mahmood said that board exams which were due to be held in March and April have been postponed till May and June as the students did not have time to prepare for exams.

The minister said that another meeting will be held on January 14 by the education ministers to review the health situation in the country and to “see if the trajectory is under control”.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, has cautioned that more precautions were needed to control the spread of COVID-19. “The data made it clear that we need to take some more precautions” and delay reopening of the educational institutions to reduce the spread of the virus.

Before the November till January extended winter break, educational institutions in Pakistan remained close for nearly six months from March till August due to COVID-19 pandemic.

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