The J&K Government on Sunday ordered temporary closure of all educational institutions in view of the rising trend of COVID-19 in J&K.
An order issued by the school education department said that all the government and private schools up to class 9th will remain closed from April 5 till April 18, while classes 10th to 12th will remain closed till April 11.
"The exams for classes 10th and 12th shall be held as per their schedule and the COVID SoPs already issued on March 30 of 2021 shall continue to apply in all cases," reads the order issued by administrative secretary B K Singh. The decision for temporary closure of the educational institutions has been taken to prevent the further spread of the covid19.
Notably, the educational institutions had witnessed a spike in the COVID-19 positive cases as teachers and students tested positive for the virus.
More than a dozen schools had been closed in various districts after over 100 students and teachers tested positive during the mass sampling.
The office of the J&K Lieutenant Governor (LG), on Sunday morning announced the closure of the educational institutions in view of the rising trend of the COVID-19 in J&K, transmitting infection in large numbers and mostly infecting young children.
The government however has not taken any decision about the attendance of the teaching staff of schools and functioning of the private coaching centres.
Secretary School Education Department (SED) B K Singh said the issue about the functioning of private coaching centres will be taken up with State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMA). "The decision about the attendance of the teaching staff of schools will be taken within two days," he said.
Besides the closure of educational institutions, the executive committee of disaster management, relief rehabilitation and reconciliation in exercise of the powers conferred under section 24 of the disaster management Act, 2005 has also put a cap the social and customary gatherings as well.
". . . there shall be a ceiling of 200 persons on all kinds of social and customary gathering, functions, subject to strict adherence of COVID-19 protocol already prevalent in this connection," reads an order issued by Simrandeep Singh, member secretary of the executive committee.
The order stated that a decision was taken after a detailed review of the current COVID situation in J&K was conducted.
Meanwhile, the medicos termed closure of schools a good step, but at the same time they questioned the wisdom of authorities in allowing "thousands of people to gather in gardens without adherence to COVID protocols".
"Government should restrict the entry of people in gardens and other recreational places as it can become a cause of COVID spreaders at a massive scale. The visuals coming out of Tulip garden are nothing but stressing, as most of the people are not adhering to COVID protocols," said critical care expert, Dr. Showkat Shah.
Another health department official said: "It doesn't make any sense that on one hand government is ordering closure of schools and on the other there is no cap on number of visitors visiting Tulip garden and Badamwari."
Health experts again urged people to follow COVID protocols, avoid mass gatherings, wear facemasks and use hand sanitization.
Meanwhile, former Chief Minister wrote on his twitter handle "Shutting schools up to class 9 in Kashmir for a couple of weeks is the right thing to do but the contrast with the hands-off approach to the crowds of visitors at the tulip garden is too stark to be ignored. A well considered uniform strategy is needed for the 2nd wave of COVID".