Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood on Tuesday has announced to reopen primary schools across the country from tomorrow (September 30).

Addressing a press conference, the minister said the decision was taken while keeping in view the future of the children. All the provinces were taken onboard during the session of National Command Operation Center (NCOC), he told.

“We took the decision after we saw 0.8% positive rate after reopening educational institutes in the country,” the minister said, adding that the government will continue to monitor the situation strictly and any carelessness will be dealt sternly.

Earlier on September 15, universities and colleges and 9th and 10th grade students had resumed on-campus learning, however, students of classes 6th, 7th and 8th returned to classrooms on September 22 after the six-month break. Sindh had delayed the recommencemnt of middle classes by a week but allowed the schools to reopen after reviewing the pandemic situation.

The students of primary and pre-primary classes are scheduled to return to schools from September 30.

Spokesperson of the Balochistan government, Liaquat Shahwani on Monday said that the provincial authorities have decided to propose a 15-day delay in the reopening of primary schools in today’s meeting of the NCOC.

The statement from the spokesperson came after Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan reported the highest positivity rates in the country over the last week.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports, the test positive percentage in Balochistan registered a spike of 11.9% in a single day on September 23, which fell to 7.8% on September 26.

A positivity rate is the percentage of coronavirus tests performed that return back positive. In May, the WHO recommended that the percent positive should remain below 5% for at least two weeks before governments can consider reopening.

However, Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood said about 1% COVID-19 rate has been witnessed in educational institutions and that was satisfactory for the government, adding that institutes were being re-opened with strict implementation of SOPs.

The minister said the government's action against coronavirus was being appreciated internationally.