Balochistan mulls 15-day delay in reopening of primary schools

The government of Pakistan’s Balochistan province is set to propose in the upcoming National Command and Operation (NCOC) meeting that reopening of primary schools, scheduled to resume on September 30, be delayed by 15 days in view of rising coronavirus cases, an official said.

Balchistan government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani’s comments on Saturday came as Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood announced that primary schools in the country would reopen pending a final review in the NCOC meeting on September 29, reports Dawn news.

Addressing the media here, Shahwani warned of a rising coronavirus trend in the province, saying cases in Balochistan had nearly tripled since August.

“Almost the same number of cases were reported in September as in May. That was around the time (Balochistan) saw a spike in cases.

“The flow of people in hospitals increased and we had to impose a lockdown. It was a hard experience,” he said.

He said Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani had already warned of rising cases in the province and the risk of a second wave.

Balochistan currently account for 15,013 coronavirus cases of the country’s overall tally of 309,691. The nationwide death toll currently stands at 6,451.

Last week, the NCOC allowed schools across the country to resume in-person classes for grades six to eight from September 23 as per schedule.

Earlier this month, millions of students in Pakistan returned to classes as educational institutions reopened after a break of six months, Dawn news reported.

In the first phase, all higher education institutions including universities, professional colleges, vocational institutes, as well as classes nine till 12 resumed on September 15.

Classes six to eight resumed from September 23 in phase two while primary students are set to return to schools on September 30.

But severaleducational institutions were closed soon after across the country over violation of standard operating proce­dures and detection of Covid-19 cases among some students, teachers and other staff.