Coronavirus: Sindh notifies new restrictions for schools under NCOC guidelines

(Khuda Ki Basti Sources) In line with the revised guidelines of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) for the education sector, the Sindh government has issued new orders for the continuation of academic activities in schools.

The NCOC on Wednesday had issued its verdict on schools’ closure amid Pakistan’s battle against a fifth wave of the pandemic and struggles to contain the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Today, the Sindh Education Department issued an official notification for the implementation of Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) in schools across the province.

“In pursuance of decision of the NCOC meeting held on 19.01.2022, and with approval of the competent authority, keeping in view the current rapid spread of COVID-19 […] condition, the following decisions have been made for strict compliance throughout the province in all public, private and allied institutions of Sindh under administration of this department,” the notification read.

  • The schools are allowed to conduct classes for students below the age of 12 years with only 50% attendance on staggered days under stringent COVID-19 protocols.
  • 100% attendance allowed for the students aged 12 and above with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.
  • Students aged 12 and above must be vaccinated with at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. This condition will go under effect from February 1, 2022, after which no exceptions other than medical reasons will be accepted.
  • Aggressive sentinel testing will be carried out for targetted closures in high disease prevalence educational institutes.

NCOC finally gives its verdict on schools’ closure

After a brief delay, the NCOC finally issued on Wednesday the revised coronavirus guidelines and SOPs for the education, restaurant, entertainment, and other sectors.

The NCOC directed the cities and districts with positivity higher than 10% to conduct classes for children under 12 years on “staggered” days and conduct regular classes for fully-vaccinated students above 12 years of age.

In the cities and districts which have a positivity ratio of up to 10%, classes will continue as usual, but with stringent COVID-19 protocols intact, as per NCOC’s guidelines.

With effect from February 1, at least one dose for students above 12 years will be mandatory and no exemption other than medical reasons will be entertained, the NCOC guidelines stated.

“Aggressive sentinel testing in educational institutions will be carried out for targeted closures in high disease prevalence education institutes,” the NCOC said.

Federating units in consultations with health authorities will set a number of cases or infection rate as the benchmark for closure of education institutes, the forum stated.

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