KARACHI - Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani on Thursday directed relevant authorities to ensure implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Covid-19 as he announced that both lower secondary and primary classes would resume on September 28. The order came despite Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho’s warning against the opening of schools this month.

In a conversation with media earlier today, Pechuho said it would be “unwise” to reopen schools at this point, saying she “does not want to take a chance with kids.”

The provincial health minister revealed that positivity rate in Sindh had increased from 1.5 per cent to 3pc. “A second wave of coronavirus has been predicted in the current situation,” she added. Expressing reservations on the reopening of schools, Dr Pechuho said: “Do not rush to reopen primary schools. They must be given at least one to one-and-a-half month to reopen.” “It would be right to send children to school only when the virus situation is clear,” she said, adding that the decision to resume classes was being taken “in haste.”

 Later, Saeed Ghani directs educational institutions to ensure implementation on SOPs.

As per detail, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani on Thursday paid surprise visits to various schools and colleges in the district east of the metropolis to review implementation on the health-related guidelines to contain coronavirus. The minister reviewed the arrangements at the educational institutions and directed to ensure social distancing and implementation on the SOPs. Talking to newsmen, Saeed Ghani urged the educational institutions to complete their arrangements before September 28 and added to call students in two shifts, if the number of the students is high.Vowing not to comprise on the health of the students, the Sindh minister said strict action would be taken against the educational institutions if the designed SOPs were neglected.  Saeed Ghani also said that show-cause notices would be served to the ghost teachers. On Wednesday, Secondary schools in Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir reopened as students from classes six to eight returned to their schools after nearly six months. In Sindh, however, classes for graders six to eight will start from September 28.

Middle schools reopen

Earlier this week, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) allowed schools across the country to resume in-person classes for grades six to eight from Sept 23 as per schedule. However, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said schools in the province would reopen on Sept 28. Earlier this month, millions of students in Pakistan returned to classes as educational institutions reopened after a break of six months.