PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Elementary and Secondary Education Department (ESED) has issued a final notification regarding reopening of educational institutions in the province from September 15 in phase-wise manner.

According to the notification, the matric and intermediate classes will resume from September 15 under the standard operating procedures (SOPs) already defined by the government. The Education Department has also directed the teaching staff to ensure implementation of the SOPs to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

On the other hand, the Higher Education Department (HEC) has announced reopening of all universities from September 15. The decision to reopen educational institutions was taken in a meeting of provincial education ministers headed by Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood two days ago. The decision about reopening of schools in three phases was taken after briefing by the health officials.

An earlier notification of the KP Education Department said the Health Department teams will be visiting public and private educational institutions to conduct random tests of teachers/staff/students/canteen vendors and all those persons who are working within the premises of educational institutions in an effort to detect COVID-19 positive cases.

“Management/principal(s)/in-charge(s) of all public and private educational institutions are required to facilitate the Health Department teams in conducting these tests,” said the notification.

Schools in Pakistan are closed since March this year after the outbreak of coronavirus. The teaching and other staff of the schools have already been called for duties in the schools in KP in order to prepare the schools for reopening and handle administrative and other matters. Training sessions of teachers have also resumed.

Under the fresh SOPs announced by the KP ESED for reopening of schools, 65 soap bars will be required every month for every school with 80 to 100 students who will be asked to frequently wash their hands. Surface cleaners and disinfectants will also be provided in schools for washrooms. The financing of these items will be arranged by allowing the schools to utilise the funds of the Parent-Teacher Council (PTC).

All the schools will be thoroughly disinfected before the reopening. The staff of schools across KP will be trained on ensuring that the COVID-19 protocols issued by the KP Health Department.