Sindh Education Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah announced on Monday that schools that had vaccinated 100 per cent of their staff against Covid-19 would be allowed to open from August 30 (Monday).
Addressing a press conference in Karachi after meeting with representatives of private schools’ associations, the minister said 80pc of staff at private institutions had been vaccinated so far.
He said children would only be allowed to go back to school if their parents are vaccinated, adding that the parents would have to submit their vaccination certificates from the National Database and Registration Authority.
"A child coming from one household could be a carrier," he said, adding that children were also contracting Covid-19.
"Education is a huge department, and employs a large number of people," he said, adding that it was imperative to increase the rate of vaccination so that lockdowns did not have to be imposed.
He said schools will reopen with 50pc attendance and for six days a week. "Random PCR testing will also be carried out at the schools," he said.
Several households suffer when there is a positive case at a school, he said.
Shah said that the private schools associations had also made the demand for vaccinated staff to be allowed to come in and plan lessons for the upcoming week. "So we have allowed that teaching and non-teaching staff that is vaccinated can be called in from tomorrow to prepare for next week," he said.
He said the decision to extend the closure of schools in the province by a week was taken in light of the advice given by the health department.
"The media incorrectly portrayed as if the chief minister took the decision without any consultations," he said, adding that the decision was taken in an effort to increase the vaccination rate.
"If we would've opened schools on [August 23], the vaccination rate would have slowed," he said. He said the thought process behind the decision was to increase vaccination among parents and staff so that schools can finally open.
Last week, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had said that schools, colleges and universities would remain closed for another week to enable the teaching and non-teaching staff to get themselves vaccinated.
Replying to a question at a press conference at CM House in Karachi, he said schools would now reopen on Aug 30, instead of Aug 23.
The CM had said children would have to show their parents' vaccination cards for entry into schools. “Therefore, it has become mandatory for parents to get themselves vaccinated within a week,” the chief minister had said at the time.