Most of the schools located within the Kathmandu Valley will not conduct physical classes before the Dashain festival.

A meeting of stakeholders from several schools with the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) officials on Wednesday agreed not to rush resumption of physical classes amid the existing COVID-19 risk.

D.K. Dhungana, co-chair of the Private and Boarding School’s Organization Nepal (PABSON), said they had all agreed not to open schools in Kathmandu for now. He added that schools with fewer students could, however, conduct in-person classes for secondary-level students if they wanted and in compliance with all health protocols.

Rituraj Sapkota, chairperson of another umbrella organization of private school operators – National PABSON, arrangements could be made to allow schools with fewer students (less than 500) to open by following proper precautionary measures.

“Though Kathmandu is in the red zone, the situation is not as severe elsewhere. So, we have decided to allow physical classes in schools that have few students and to resume physical classes with larger number of students later,” he said.

Minister of State for MoHP, Umesh Shrestha, had called the stakeholders for a discussion to ensure uniformity in the decision after some local levels of the Kathmandu Valley started operating schools.

The meeting was attended by MoHP officials, Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, CCMC authorities and other people involved in the education sector.

President of the Federation of Nepali Parents, Suprabhat Bhandari, said, “Since many students are in their home districts outside of the Kathmandu Valley, we have agreed to resume physical classes only after Dashain.”

While the Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Bhaktapur Municipality are still undecided on resuming in-person classes, the Lalitpur Metropolitan City had recently decided to open schools.

“The COVID situation is not same in all districts across the country and so all bodies concerned are requested to be more considerate while resuming physical classes. Educational institutions may reopen on the recommendations of the district CCMC after assessing the rate of infection at the local levels and by following the School Operation Framework-2077 issued by the Ministry of Education,” Spokesperson of MoHP, Dr. Krishna Poudel said.

Local level governments that are entrusted with the responsibility to resume physical classes should coordinate with health institutions before allowing educational institutions to resume, the Health Ministry has instructed.

Educational institutions across the country that have been closed for more than a year due to the ongoing pandemic recently decided to resume physical classes from September 17.