As coronavirus cases are rapidly surging in Nepal, the Covid-19 Crisis Management Committee (CCMC) on Saturday recommended the Council of Ministers to allow only virtual classes in severely affected districts till mid-May.
If the upcoming Cabinet meeting decides in favour of the recommendation, educational institutions in severely hit districts will shut physical classes for almost a month.
According to a member of CCMC, the current recommendation is only for mid-May and further decision will be taken after observing the situation of coronavirus pandemic later.
The Ministry of Health and had classified Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Kaski, Rupandehi, Chitwan, Banke, Parsa, Bhaktapur, Kailali, Morang, Dang, Surkhet, Bara and Baglung as the districts most affected by Covid-19, and suggested that schools in these cities be closed for the time being.
Despite the Ministry’s request, local levels in these districts have decided not to halt physical classes.
The Kathmandu Metropolitan City has decided to shut schools for a week if a teacher or student in those institutions tests positive for COVID-19.
The Ministry of Education also issued a statement on Friday stating that the decision to open or close schools should be taken at the local level in coordination with the District Covid-19 Crisis Management Committee.
Saturday’s meeting of CCMC recommended that the Council of Ministers now strictly enforce the health safety standards in public institutions, transport, crowded markets and other public places required for the prevention and control against coronavirus.
For the time being, no one is allowed to hold meetings, conferences and gatherings, but the protocol is hardly followed. Saturday’s meeting of CCMC concluded that the risk of infection would increase if proper measure was not taken.
The meeting also discussed the need to strictly adhere to the safety measures rather than immediately considering nationwide lockdown.
MoHP had previously requested to close educational institutions in the hard-hit districts for some time as the cases of coronavirus has increased in recent days.
However, the government was in dilemma after private school operators pressured the Ministry of Education not to close schools right away citing the time already lost in current academic session.