Capital’s education officers told to visit seven schools every day to monitor SOPs

Updated 30 Sep 2020

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A teacher (L) checks the body temperature of a child wearing a facemask at the entrance of a junior campus school upon arrival in Islamabad on September 30. — AFP
A teacher (L) checks the body temperature of a child wearing a facemask at the entrance of a junior campus school upon arrival in Islamabad on September 30. — AFP

ISLAMABAD/RAWALPINDI: Primary schools will open in the twin cities today (Wednesday) in the third phase of educational institutions reopening, following months shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) has directed all area education officers to visit at least seven schools every day to ensure that health guidelines and standard operating procedure (SOP) to limit the spread of Covid-19 are being implemented.

A total of 193 FDE-run primary schools in Islamabad will reopen.

FDE officials said that the city’s six area education officers have been told to visit at least seven schools per day. In addition, a team of FDE directors and officers from the Ministry of Federal Education and the capital administration will visit schools as well.

Primary schools reopen in twin cities today under third phase

Teams from the Private Educational Institution Regulatory Authority (Peira) will also visit primary schools, officials from the authority said.

They said that it would be harder to enforce social distancing in primary schools compared to high schools, colleges or universities, particularly with students in nursery up until third grade, which is why teachers will have to make a special effort.

Islamabad-based educational institutions have reported more than 30 cases of Covid-19 out of around 15,000 tests.

Minister for Federal Education Shafqat Mehmood said that the positivity rate is 0.8pc in educational institutions across the country.

At a press conference in Islamabad, he said that out of 171,436 tests carried out in educational institutions - not including primary schools - 1,284 have come back positive for Covid-19.

He said school administrations, teachers and parents must be more attentive from Wednesday, when primary schools reopen, because young children cannot follow SOP and practice social distancing on their own.

Rawalpindi

SOP has been issued and arrangements have been made by the district administration and education authority as primary schools open in Rawalpindi.

Commissioner retired Capt Mohammad Mehmood told Dawn that the government had asked that preparations be made for primary schools to reopen.

He said special arrangements have been made for younger students, but parents must also educate children on safety measures. He said teachers and school staff have been directed to explain safety measures and social distancing to students.

He said the use of masks, hand sanitiser and other SOP will be monitored, and primary schools will be checked every day.

He added that Covid-19 testing is continuing in educational institutions in Rawalpindi as part of the Punjab government’s goal to check all the schools, colleges and universities in the district.

Seven out of 2,913 people tested for Covid-19 have been positive since the opening of schools and colleges on Sept 15, he said, while 2,744 were negative and the results of 162 are awaited.

Mr Mehmood said teams have been working to collect samples from educational institutions. He said randomised testing has been carried out in 49 colleges and universities. He said the testing process has been slow because capacity cannot exceed 120 tests per day.

All the results will be received in a day or two, Mr Mehmood said.

Randomised testing will continue in schools where classes for sixth, seventh and eighth graders resumed on Sept 23.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2020