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Shafqat Mahmood says educational institutions to reopen from Sept 15 if health situation improves

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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood annoucned on Thursday that all education institutions, including universities, will reopen from September 15.

The minister said that the government will review its decision in the first week of September to monitor the coronavirus situation in the country by taking a look at the health indicators and may review the situation if the need arises.

"We are allowing universities to call PhD students, who are very few in number, to their laboratories for research work before September 15," he said. "As to how they do that, we leave it up to him."

He said that the government was permitting universities also to admit students into hostels to 30% capacity. However, he said that 'health checks' which included tests and temperature checks will be done strictly by universities.

Mahmood said that educational institutions can call teachers and administration staff to duty before September 15. He said that provinces will be responsible for ensuring SOPs that are followed.

"It is my request to private schools, especially, that the SOPs that you will have to follow will be the ones that are made by the government," he said.

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On Wednesday, Centre and provinces had agreed on the reopening of schools, colleges and universities in the first week of September after five months closure.

However, the final decision about it was to be taken by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), which monitors and acts upon the developments to stem the spread of coronavirus in the country.

The federal and provincial ministers had met in Islamabad on Wednesday via video link to discuss proposals on the reopening of educational institutions. Representatives of the Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir education departments also attended the meeting, which was held with federal education minister Shafqat Mehmood in the chair.

The participants had agreed that schools, colleges and universities should be allowed to resume operations across the country in the first week of September under strict enforcement of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to prevent the spread of coronavirus.


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