Schools in virus-hit cities to remain closed till April 11: Shafqat Mehmood

Islamabad (NUT DESK) Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood on Wednesday briefed the media regrading updates on the closure of schools after an important meeting of education and health ministers at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).

He said the educational institutions which were closed earlier due to high positivity rates, will remain shut till April 11. Provincial governments and authorities in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan are empowered to take the final decision in this regard, keeping the latest situation in mind, he added.

He clarified that school administrators can continue to call in teachers in affected districts if they want to.

“The meeting noted with concern the worsening situation of the disease in Lahore and several cities of Punjab and also in some districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” Mehmood said in his briefing.

Mehmood said the authorities are aware of the losses borne by students, but the health of children is the government’s top priority and there would be no compromise on that.

Regarding Cambridge International Exams, the minister said that the government would hold a meeting with the CAIE officials to see whether examinations can be postponed or not.

Meanwhile, “ninth, Matric and Intermediate exams will be held as per schedule announced by the respective education boards,” he said.
The federal minister emphasized that when he says educational institutes, he means all educational institutions, including schools, colleges, universities and religious seminaries.“The next meeting of the education and health ministers will be held on the April 7 to review the whole situation and then take the decision accordingly,” he added.

Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani, however, said shortly after the meeting that schools should remain open in cities where the pandemic is under control.
While talking to media, he said that the positivity ratio in Sindh educational institutes is 2.8%, but Sindh’s final decision on schools will depend on data shared by the NCOC.