Schools, colleges to reopen on Sept 12: Dipu Moni

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Dhaka, Sept 03: Primary, secondary and higher secondary educational institutions in the country will reopen on September 12 after a prolonged closure, said Education Minister Dipu Moni on Friday.

“The decision was taken in a joint meeting of the Education Ministry, Ministry of Primary and Mass education and the National Technical Advisory Committee held on Thursday night,” she said at a function in Chandpur sadar upazila.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to reopen all the schools, colleges, including madrasas, on September 12 as per the decision,” Dipu Moni said.

Regarding the opening of universities, the minister said the decision is still pending as the Vice Chancellors of public universities want to see all the students are vaccinated– at least the first dose of Covid-19 vaccines.

“We’ll hold another meeting with them. If they want, they can reopen with other educational institutions or fix another date following the decision of the syndicate committees of their universities,” said Dipu Moni.

Even after reopening, she said, the educational institutions will have to send mandatory regular reports on abiding by health guidelines and Covid-19 situation.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has issued a directive to bring people aged above 12 under the vaccination campaign and it will kick off as soon as the government manages the vaccines eligible for this age group, the minister added.

The government shut the educational institutions on March 17, 2020 after the country reported its first Covid-19 cases on March 8. Then the closure was extended several times, most recently until September 11.

The pandemic-related school closures in the country affected about 38 million students though the government introduced TV-based learning programmes for them.

Preparations for reopening

On Thursday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the government is taking measures to reopen educational institutions across the country soon.

“We’ve been able to control the coronavirus to a large extent. There’s no more problem regarding vaccines…I’ve already directed (the authorities concerned) to reopen schools and colleges soon,” she said in Parliament.

Hasina said teachers have already been vaccinated and now steps are underway to vaccinate other staff of the educational institutions.

“Since there are some WHO guidelines for school students, we’re taking measures to vaccinate the students following the guidelines,” she said.

So, Hasina said, the government is collecting some Pfizer vaccines and trying to procure Moderna vaccines, too. “Other vaccines are also coming. We’ve already paid for six core vaccine jabs,” the Prime Minister told the House.

Meanwhile, the education authorities issued some guidelines as part of preparations to reopen the educational institutions.

The teachers of primary schools have been instructed to return to their workplaces from Tuesday.

The Primary Education Directorate asked the upazila/thana education officers to inspect the schools in their jurisdiction within a week.

Besides, it gave instructions to keep the institutions neat and clean taking utmost care to prevent dengue.

The primary school authorities were instructed to prepare their wash blocks accordingly.

Besides, the Directorate of Secondary & Higher Education (DSHE) asked the regional directors to make necessary preparations to reopen the schools and colleges.

According to sources at the Education Ministry, most teachers and staffers of the educational institutions have been vaccinated.

Sources at the University Grants Commission claimed that around 80 % students of Dhaka University got their Covid jabs.