By Manjima Dhakal
Kathmandu, Apr. 10: The Ministry of Health and Population on Friday recommended the COVID-19 Crisis Management Committee (CCMC) to close the educational institutions, stating that the new variant of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the country.
However, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) is against the idea of closing all schools at once.
The MoHP has requested to run online classes considering the increasing risk of coronavirus among the students. However, Deepak Sharma, spokesperson for the MoEST, informed that the ministry has not yet discussed the issue of school closure.
Sharma said the local governments can decide whether to close or operate schools of the particular area considering the risk factor. He further said that the ministry on March 25 instructed all the local governments to operate schools according to ‘School Operating Framework, 2077’.
It has instructed all education institutions in the country to run their academic activities with strict adherence to health and safety protocols against COVID-19 that include using sanitizer, frequent hand wash and maintaining physical distance and other precautions.
The Education Ministry had said that the local governments could decide ways to continue academic activities of the particular area and even a particular school by analysing the risk factor.
“The ministry has not received any recommendation and proposal from anywhere, so, it has not been discussing the issue of school closure for now,” Sharma said.
But Dr. Sameer Kumar Adhikari, deputy spokesperson at the MoHP, said, “According to Thursday’s update, more than 17 per cent of children have been found infected and the infection is found spreading from schools. If the schools are not closed immediately, the situation could be worsened.”
Lately, it has been found that the infection is increasing among the students in the age group of up to 18 years, the MoHP informed. Although the Health Ministry suggested closing schools soon to control the spread of new variant of COVID-19, the private schools are also not in the mood of closing schools again.
D.K Dhungana, co-chairperson of the Private and Boarding School Organisation Nepal (PABSON), said it is better to continue academic activities by analysing the current situation and risk factor of the particular area rather than closing all schools at once.
Dhungana informed that they also recommended the CCMC to allow schools to operate according to School Operating Framework, 2077.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has requested not to assemble more than 25 people at one place, and maintaining this in schools is not possible.
– The Rising Nepal