Abdul Sattar

MARDAN: Educational institutions were reopened in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and rest of the country from September 15 after coronavirus lockdown, but the administration is facing difficulties in implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Several educational institutions have been closed again for violation of SOPs like social distancing, use of facemasks and hand sanitizers. Many schools have also been closed after the teachers and students were diagnosed with coronavirus.

Government Higher Secondary School No 3 Principal Hafiz Zubair said while talking to TNN that implementation of SOPs is difficult due to shortage of classrooms and more number of students. He said the school has arranged sanitization spray for every student entering the school and points have been marked for students at a distance of five feet. He said 10 teachers have been given the duty to ensure sanitization of students before entry to school.

“We have clearly told students not to come without a facemask. We provide facemask to students who come without it instead of sending him back. We are trying to implement 100 percent SOPs despite resource constraints,” the principal said.

Assistant District Education Officer (ADEO) Musarrat Jabeen said the number of girls in government schools is very high and in this situation the implementation of SOPs is a challenge.

“We have declared wearing of facemasks mandatory and digital thermometers have also been provided to schools to check temperature of every student,” she said.

Parents are equally concerned about the second wave of coronavirus and fear that their children might contract the disease if precaution was not ensured.

Aqeela Sumbal, a resident of Mardan, said she remains worried about her three school going children. She said she tries to observe all SOPs, but it is difficult for children to keep wearing the masks all the time. She said children need to be given awareness about the issue.

Teachers say attendance of students has reduced since reopening after coronavirus lockdown. However, many students want to continue education despite the corona threat. Sumbal, a local student, said she doesn’t want corona to impede her progress in studies.

Private schools are also facing difficulties in implementation of SOPs. Teachers said they are not allowing more than 20 students in a classroom, but students don’t wear facemasks all the time. They said they will ensure implementation of SOPs to keep the process of education going.