ISLAMABAD-As authorities claimed strict implementation of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in schools and colleges of the city, parents still expressed concerns on safety measures being taken on Wednesday.

Teachers and heads of schools and colleges in the federal capital expressed satisfaction on the implementation of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) SOPs, and parents have raised their concerns on safety measures. The government has opened the educational institutions in the second phase. The decision of re-opening of primary level classes will be taken reviewing the COVID-19 situation on 30th September.

President of the Parents Association in Islamabad, Hamid Khan said that though the government is claiming strict implementation of SOPs, still educational institutions in the private sector are facing short attendance as parents’ fear virus spread. He said that while children’s safety must be top priority, parents have not been involved in any discussion on any forum despite them being stakeholder.

He also said that the number of COVID-19 cases reported in the educational institutions is being under-reported in his view, while implementation on social distancing amongst children is very difficult.

“How a student can wear a mask for 40 minutes in a class in this hot weather,” he said.

He further said that a short number of students do not matter as one asymptomatic person can infect many people. “Government should have waited and focused on improving online education,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Private Schools Association Zofran Elahi said that COVID-19 SOPs are strictly being implemented in institutions in the second phase also.

“Hand washing, social distancing and wearing of masks are being strictly monitored and so far there has been no case of COVID-19 reported in private schools,” he said.

Elahi said that students are implementing advice of their teachers while the government has also taken better decisions of implementing the SOPs and opening the institutions.

President Federal Government Teachers Association (FGTA) Malik Ameer Khan said that staff in public sector schools are making all out efforts for implementation of COVID-19 SOPs and so far there has been no major number of cases reported anywhere.

He said that the response regarding implementation on SOPs from students and staff has been observed positive and public sector schools are utilising available resources for the safety of students and staff.

According to the official statistics, 423 public sector schools and colleges are working under Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) and 2,000 schools and colleges are registered with Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA).

The number of students enrolled in private and public schools and colleges are above 50,000.

Focal Person to FDE Abdul Waheed said that 50 schools were opened in the second phase in which 15,000 students were enrolled. However, attendance was not 100 per cent.

He also said that SOPs are strictly being implemented and mostly educational institutions under FDE got 100 per cent marks. 

He added that so far 12 COVID-19 cases have been reported in educational institutions and all confirmed were teaching and non-teaching staff of other provinces. He said that fortunately no case has been confirmed among students so far.