ISLAMABAD : Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood on Thursday announced to reopen educational institutions from September 15 under strict enforcement of standard operating procedures (SOPs). Addressing a press conference here in Islamabad, the education minister said that the government has decided to resume educational activities from September 15 and provinces have been asked to formulate SOPs for school’s reopening in this regard. “The situation of Covid-19 in the country will be reviewed in August and September before the opening of the educational institutions. If the Covid-19 situation gets better, the educational institutions will reopen from September 15,” he added. However, the minister said that educational institutions that come under smart lockdown areas would not be allowed to resume academic activities. He said that the government was permitting universities also to admit students into hostels up to 30%. “We are allowing universities to call PhD students, who are very few in number, to their laboratories for research work before September 15,” he said. “As to how they do that, we leave it up to him.” He said that the government was permitting universities also to admit students into hostels to 30% capacity. However, he said that ‘health checks’ which included tests and temperature checks will be done strictly by universities. Shafqat Mehmood said the provincial governments will be authorized to close the institutions, which do not observe SOPs while the federal government will monitor implementation of the SOPs. Earlier, it was reported that govt had decided to resume educational activities across the country from the first week of September amid the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was taken in an interprovincial education ministers’ conference chaired by Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood. Earlier in June, the federal government had asked the provincial authorities to come up with their proposals to resume academic activities amid the coronavirus pandemic. It is pertinent to mention here that govt had canceled all board exams across the country and extended the closure of schools till July 15 as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-I9.