PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Elementary and Secondary Education Department has decided to conduct corona tests of students and school staff after reopening of the schools.

According to a notification of the Education Department, in order to support the ESED in reopening of schools in an environment that is safe from COVID-19, 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. It said the exercise will be taken to prevent the spread of the disease.

“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 government has announced to reopen schools from September 15, but final decision in this regard will be taken at a high-level meeting on September 07.

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 and it is expected that the schools in KP will reopen on the stipulated date.

Under the fresh standard operating procedures (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).

The heads of schools will keep the district education officers (DEOs) informed about the stock of soaps, disinfectants, and other necessary items in their schools. 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.