All students aged 12 or above to be vaccinated by Jan 31: Dipu Moni

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Dhaka, Jan 10: All the students, aged 12 or above, will be vaccinated with at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine by January 31 so that they can attend schools and colleges, said Education Minister Dipu Moni on Monday.

Addressing a press briefing at the secretariat, the education minister said 48,19,554 students have been vaccinated against Covid so far.

“Those who have not been vaccinated yet will join classes online after January 12 and they’ll be allowed to attend classes after receiving the vaccine,” she told journalists.

About the possible closure of educational institutions amid the Covid surge, Dipu Moni said, “Educational institutions won’t be closed now as we’ll strengthen monitoring there to enforce health protocols.”

Dipu Moni said in-person classes in educational institutions will continue on a limited scale. “We’ll monitor the situation for a week and then we’ll sit in a meeting with the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19.”

The minister said various issues were reviewed at the meeting with NTAC on Sunday.

She said the trend of Omicron is that everyone will get infected. Even students can get infected at home. “So, we’ll keep students safe as long as they’re there in the educational institutions.”

“Besides, ” she added, “We’ll have to recover the learning losses caused by the long closure of educational institutions.”

Dipu Moni said, “The situation was that no student had been vaccinated when we reopened educational institutions. But now, a large portion of our students have been vaccinated. So, all we need to do is to follow hygiene protocols properly rather than closing educational institutions.”

The universities will also be monitored strictly this time whether they are ensuring hygiene rules, said the minister.

However, hygiene rules are not properly maintained in Qawmi Madrasas as there is no monitoring. “Since the Qawmi Madrasas are not under our control, we’ll take action through local administrations,” the minister added.

On January 6, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said the students, aged above 12 or above, must receive at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine to attend schools and colleges.

After a long closure due to the pandemic, the students of schools and colleges in Bangladesh returned to their classrooms on September 12 last year.