Pakistan school covid sanitise
A teacher and a worker sanitise hands and shoes of students wearing face mask to protect against coronavirus. Image Credit: AP

Islamabad: Students of higher classes, from grade 9-12, retuned to schools across the country on Monday after a break of two months because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in November and December, 2020.

In the wake of high positivity rate during the two months, the government had extended winter vacation until January 18 for high school students while pre-primary, primary and middle schools students (from Montessori to grade-8) are still on vacation and will return to school on February 1.

The opening of schools was decided after a high level committee agreed on a phase-wise reopening of schools.

On Monday, the country’s higher schools received the grade 9-12 students with strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place.

Facemasks for students

Every student was given a facemask to wear and one of the staff members was standing at the gate with hand sanitizers to ensure students were properly sanitized.

As the high schools students are returning to schools, Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood took to Twitter late Sunday and sent his best wishes to the students for their studies ahead.

In a tweet, the minister said their career was his government’s priority.

“Tomorrow classes 9 to 12, O and A level go back to school/ college. Wish them the very best,” the minister wrote.

“Their future is our main priority,” thus wished the minister.

On Friday last, Jan 18, the minister had held a high-level meeting at the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) to review the decision to reopen educational institutions amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

During the meeting, it was decided that classes will resume on January 18, 2021 for students of grades nine to 12 as decided earlier.

Pakistan on Monday reported almost 11,000 deaths due to COVID-19.

According to the NCOC, the country’s death toll surged to to 10,997 with 46 fatalities reported in the last twenty-four hours.

The data further tells that 521,211 people (1,920 in last twenty-four hours) have contracted virus since its outbreak in February last year.

More vaccines

According to the NCOC, 34,986 active cases still exist in the country while total recoveries with 1,589 in last twenty hours stood at 475,228.

Ministry of National Health Services (MNHS) has ann¬ounced to register a few more vaccines in the coming weeks.

A spokesperson of the ministry said that more vaccines would be registered in coming weeks in the country.

AstraZeneca has been registered in the country for emergency use and the vaccine will come through Covax, which has pledged to provide the vaccine that would cover 20 per cent of the country’s population, the spokesperson said.