• Sunday, Oct 24, 2021
  • Last Update : 09:56 pm

Schools, colleges finally reopen after long 18 months

  • Published at 09:40 pm September 12th, 2021
School reopen
Students sitting in a classroom by maintaining social distance on Sunday, September 12, 2021 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Regular classes to be held for PEC, SSC and HSC examinees of 2020-2021

The wait is finally over for students across the country as the gates of schools and colleges opened after 18 long months on Sunday.

Teachers and other staff spent the last few days cleaning classes and fields, as well as setting up hand washing facilities and disinfection tunnels to ensure Covid-19 health protocols.

Students stood in queues, washing hands before entering schools and colleges. Body temperatures of students were checked by school authorities before they entered their classrooms, while teachers welcomed back students with flowers and chocolates.

With the return of thousands of students -- including Secondary School Certificate (SSC), Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and Primary Education Completion (PEC) examinees -- the campuses wore a festive look despite all the faces being hidden behind masks.

Students in a school in Khulna Dhaka TribuneIn some schools, isolation rooms have been set up as a precautionary measure for any student falling sick during the school hours. To maintain social distancing rules, the authorities of some schools have placed limits on the number of students in each classroom or on each bench.

No assemblies will take place at educational institutions, but some physical activities will be carried out considering the mental and physical health of the students.

Full swing classes soon

After the reopening, SSC and HSC examinees of 2020-2021 as well as the students of fifth grade are to attend classes regularly, according to the government decision finalized at an inter-ministerial meeting at the Cabinet Division on Sunday.

"The students of grades 1-4 and 6-9 will attend classes once a week initially. Later, all the classes will be held regularly," said Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni.

Now, the SSC, HSC, and PEC candidates have only a few months before their examinations. Once their term comes to an end, at the end of the year, regular classes will start for Classes 9 and 11, she added. 

Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka TribuneWhile visiting primary schools in the capital’s Motijheel and Segunbagicha, State Minister for Primary and Mass Education Ministry Md Zakir Hossain told reporters that the infection rate is now going down. 

“We hope it will go down below 5% soon. We will be able to resume all classes in full swing soon after that.”

While visiting schools and colleges, Education Minister Dipu Moni said: "We have to live with the coronavirus for a long time. We think it is appropriate to reopen schools now. If we see a risk of infections rising, we will return to the way it was before.”

‘Stern actions against negligence’

Education Minister Dipu Moni, warned of stern action against school authorities for not ensuring hygiene rules. During a visit to the Azimpur Government Girls School and College, she suspended its principal and Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education official Salina Zaman for unclean classrooms.

Principal Hasibur Rahman told reporters that the minister was upset as she found some old furniture and rubbish in the storeroom.

The minister expressed satisfaction with students following the health guidelines properly, but was disappointed with many parents for not doing the same when they gathered in front of schools and colleges on the first day of reopening.

She said that the guardians can drop the students off at school and go home, or could wait outside school while maintaining necessary distance.

Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka TribuneShe also said the ministry will conduct “surprise visits” to educational institutions and strict action will be taken in cases of non-compliance with health rules.

“Today’s visit to this school was scheduled, but we will make surprise visits regularly. No one will be spared when it comes to ensuring health and hygiene rules, neither teachers nor Education Ministry officials,” she said.

Reopening universities

Regarding the reopening of universities, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni said there would be a meeting with the syndicate committees of the universities for a possible reopening in October "as there is a vaccination issue." 

The government closed educational institutions on March 17, 2020, after the country reported its first Covid-19 cases on March 8. The closure was extended several times. 

The pandemic-related school closures in the country affected about 38 million students, despite the government introducing TV-based learning programs for them.

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