pakistan school karachi
Students keep safe distance while attending an audio-visual class, as schools reopen amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Karachi, Pakistan September 15, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: More than 22 educational institutions across Pakistan were closed just two days after the reopening for failing to meet the safety rules announced to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Pakistan announced a phased opening of schools, colleges and universities on September 15 with mandatory temperature checks and the use of masks after a six-month long closure. “During the last 48 hours, 22 educational institutions across Pakistan have been closed due to non-compliance of health standard operating procedures (SOPs)/protocols and disease prevalence,” said the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), leading the national fight against the pandemic.

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Major university and three schools closed in Karachi

Karachi’s leading Institute of Business Administration (IBA) suspended academic activities at both its campuses for two days after reports of suspected cases. “Campuses have not been shut down, only academic activity has been suspended,” IBA official told media, adding that the institute had been conducting COVID-19 tests in collaboration with the district health office. Meanwhile, three private schools in Karachi’s Orangi neighbourhood were sealed for failing to implement precautionary measures announced by the government, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said. School permits have been cancelled for violating social distancing rules and conducting primary classes that have not yet been opened under the phased reopening.

Cases reported in Peshawar and Nowshera

At least seven teachers of a government school in Peshawar tested positive for coronavirus. Another 10 teaching staff at a school in Nowshera were diagnosed with coronavirus. The reported number cases set the alarm bells ringing after which the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department sent the infected teachers and staff members on two weeks of leave.

Colleges closed in Hyderabad

Three colleges were closed in Hyderabad city of Sindh province by the district administration after multiple COVID-19 cases were reported among teachers and other school staff. Disinfection campaigns have been ordered at the campuses and employees have been advised to isolate at home. COVID-19 tests would be carried out at suspected campuses, officials said.

Medical college sealed in Islamabad

A top medical school in Islamabad was also closed after 16 coronavirus cases were reported among students and employees. “This trend is very alarming” as the Riphah Medical College is becoming “a super spreader and a hotspot for COVID-19”, Islamabad district health office said in a letter. They directed to immediately seal the campus and hostel premises and conduct thorough disinfection activities to avoid further spread of the virus.

The city administration has a “zero tolerance policy” towards those defying the COVID restriction. “As soon as we got the news, the college was declared it a hotspot and was shut,” District Health Officer Dr Zaeem Zia said.

Educational institutions in Pakistan reopened on Tuesday after six months following the closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. All higher educational institutions including universities, colleges and schools till grade 9 have opened while grades six through eighth grade will reopen on September 23 and primary schools will resume classes from September 30.