Primary schools opened in the twin cities yesterday in the third phase of educational institutions reopening, following months of shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) has directed all area education officers to visit at least seven schools each 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 reopened yesterday.
FDE officials said that the city’s six area education officers have been told to visit at least seven schools per day.zzzzz
In addition, a team of FDE directors and officers from the ministry of federal education and the capital administration will visit schools as well.
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 to 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.
The Minister for Federal Education, Shafqat Mehmood, said the positivity rate is 0.8% 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 asked the school administrations, teachers and parents to be more attentive with the reopening of primary schools as young children cannot follow SOPs and practice social distancing on their own.
SOPs have been issued and arrangements made by the district administration and education authority as primary schools opened in Rawalpindi.
Commissioner (retired) Capt Mohamed Mehmood told the Dawn newspaper 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 SOPs will be monitored, and primary schools 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 September 15, he said, while 2,744 were negative and the results of 162 are awaited.
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, Mehmood said.
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