Implementation of SOPs found satisfactory as students head back to schools in Islamabad

Updated 16 Sep 2020

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A teacher takes the temperature of students at the entrance of Islamabad Model College of Commerce for Girls in F-10/3 on Tuesday. The educational institutions reopened nearly six months after the spread of Covid-19. — Photo by Mohammad Asim
A teacher takes the temperature of students at the entrance of Islamabad Model College of Commerce for Girls in F-10/3 on Tuesday. The educational institutions reopened nearly six months after the spread of Covid-19. — Photo by Mohammad Asim

ISLAMABAD: Educational Institutions in Islamabad on their opening day on Tuesday took satisfactory steps towards implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to avoid the spread of Covid-19.

After the unprecedented gap of six months, the educational institutions opened their doors to students of colleges and universities and 9th and 10th classes of schools.

“Today is a historic day as the government, parents, teachers and students have been impatiently waiting for resumption of educational activities across the country and I formally welcome all the students back to their schools, colleges and universities and congratulate the nation on this auspicious occasion,” said Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood.

Visiting a school at Embassy Road, he also requested the parents to check their children before they come to school, adding the role of teachers, head teachers and administrative staff had significantly increased in the present scenario to fully ensure implementation of SOPs, particularly in maintaining distance and wearing face masks and washing hands frequently.

According to the Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (Peira) and the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), monitoring teams visited around 115 (both public and private) institutions and found only four, two each in the public and private sectors, violating the SOPs. These four institutions were issued warning to improve the SOPs implementation, said Peira Chairperson Zia Batool, who also holds the acting charge of the director general FDE.

Monitoring teams visit 115 institutions and find only four violating safety measures, says senior official

She said a compliance report of private schools was yet to be finalised. However, later an official of Peira said deficiencies in two private schools in Bhara Kahu had also been pointed out and they would be warned to follow the SOPs.

Meanwhile, sources said from tomorrow the process of random sampling of students of both public and private institutions will be conducted for Covid-19 tests.

During the last one week, tests of teachers and staff of a number of private and public schools were conducted and in two public sector schools, one each in G-6 and G-7, two teachers were found infected with the virus. The schools were disinfected before opening on Tuesday.

A female teacher of a private school in H-8 also tested positive and has been isolated at home.

“Yesterday, a positive report of a female teacher was received and we contacted the school management who told us that the teacher had already been isolated at her home. The school building was disinfected and we crosschecked the information and are satisfied,” said an official of Peira.

An officer of the FDE said: “On the opening day of institutions after vacation, the attendance usually remains low, so overall today’s attendance, which remained almost 70pc, is satisfactory.”

Meanwhile, many schools and colleges could not ply their buses to pick and drop students as they were confused about SOPs regarding buses, the FDE officer said. He said from Wednesday the schools and colleges will ply their buses under SOPs.

The officer said under the Prime Minister Education Reform Programme, 200 buses had been procured for the FDE-run schools and colleges but majority of them were parked in various institutions due to shortage of funds for fuel and staff.

Students touch their elbows while meeting on the first day after reopening of their school. — INP
Students touch their elbows while meeting on the first day after reopening of their school. — INP

Rawalpindi

Educational institutions in Rawalpindi district also opened their doors to students of secondary and higher secondary classes under SOPs issued by the Punjab government.

More than 1,800 public sector schools and over 3,000 private intuitions in the district reopened in the first phase for 9th and 10th grade students. The school administrations had been directed by the provincial government to call 50pc students in each class.

Deputy Commissioner retired Capt Anwarul Haq visited some schools to check whether or not the SOPs were being implemented.

Talking to Dawn, he said all assistant commissioners had been asked to form teams at the tehsil level to monitor the SOPs.

He said the government had provided gadgets to schools to check temperature of students, teachers and staff.

“There is no direction for Covid-19 testing of teachers and staff. We will test those who have symptoms of the virus as we have no capacity to conduct test of all staff in the district,” he said.

District Education Authority (DEA) Chief Executive Officer Iftikhar Hassan told Dawn that two monitoring teams had been formed for schools.

“We have asked school principals to divide 9th and 10th class students so they will be called on alternate days to maintain social distancing,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2020