Ongoing closure of schools, colleges extended till September 11
Universities across the country are likely to reopen and resume in-person classes from October 15 only after all students and teachers have been vaccinated.
The government cleared the reopening of campuses during a Ministry of Education and Ministry of Primary and Mass Education virtual meeting yesterday evening.
However, there is still a chance that the reopening may be deferred if all students are not vaccinated before that date.
"Universities will decide the date on reopening residential halls based on their students’ vaccination,” Deputy Education Minister Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel told Dhaka Tribune.
“Before the university campuses open, they will need to complete preparations,” University Grants Commission (UGC) Secretary Professor Ferdous Zaman said after the meeting.
He added that universities had been asked to submit reports on how many students had completed vaccinations, how many had received the first dose and how many were still waiting for the text message after registration.
“The lists will be examined and students will be vaccinated on a priority basis,” he said.
Meanwhile, UGC member Prof Dr Biswajit Chanda said that students would have to contact their university authorities to complete their vaccination process.
The students of National University will not need their NIDs but can register for vaccines by using the university’s registration number.
Private university students, meanwhile, can register by using their universities’ IDs.
According to sources at the ministry, the government has plans to resume academic activities at all educational institutions in phases after the universities but only if infection rates keep dropping.
Shutdown of schools, colleges extended
Even though the government wants to reopen universities, secondary and higher secondary institutions will remain closed till September 11.
The Education Ministry, in a notification on Thursday, announced that all secondary and higher secondary level educational institutions, including Ebtedayee and Qawmi madrasas, had been included in the closure that was supposed to end on August 31.
The ministry said that the decision had been taken in consultation with the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 to ensure the health and overall safety of students, teachers, staff and guardians.
On March 16 last year, the government ordered all educational institutions closed to curb Covid-19 cases and deaths.
Since then, the closure has been extended several times, most recently until August 31 this year.
Bangladesh has seen a rapid drop in the Covid-19 infection rate recently, prompting the government to lift a nationwide strict lockdown on August 11 and reopen offices and shops.
Under the circumstances, Education Minister Dipu Moni on Tuesday said educational institutions would be reopened in phases if the current trend continued.
“If it continues, we can reopen the education institutes step by step,” she said.
State Minister for Primary and Mass Education Zakir Hossain said: “We can’t reopen schools all of a sudden. We have taken all-out preparations and if the prime minister orders us today, we are prepared to reopen the schools from tomorrow.”
On Tuesday, the authorities also issued guidelines as part of preparations to reopen the educational institutions.