By A Staff Reporter Kathmandu, Sept. 17: The District Administration Office, Kathmandu, has issued an order restricting academic institutions (schools) from resuming classes in physical presence. “If schools have to be reopened, the concerned metropolis and municipalities will have to analyse the condition of COVID-19 infection in their area and take prior permission from their respective municipalities before operating schools in physical presence,” read a new restriction order issued by the Kathmandu District Administration on Thursday.
The order also mentioned that all teachers, school staff, drivers and assistant drivers, canteen operators and members of school management committees should be vaccinated against coronavirus. According to Chief District Officer Govinda Prasad Rijal, the order will come into effect from September 17 and will continue until further notice.
In its order, the DAO has instructed the school management and other stakeholders to prepare and submit the details and structure of the operation of the schools based on the smart lockdown modality issued by the government to the local bodies if the school management wants to open the schools in physical presence of teachers and students.
Coordination and approval of the parents have also been advised to mention while seeking permission to reopen the schools in physical presence in the new order. The DAO has issued the order after some schools have started preparing to resume classes in physical presence from September 17 without fulfilling the prescribed criteria. It has also imposed a ban on holding mass gathering and processions and on celebrating festivals and throwing feasts without following health protocols. The DAO has urged the people to observe festivals only symbolically without generating crowds.
The DAO has also prohibited the local goods carrying vehicles from plying in the street from 9 am to 11 am and from 4 pm to 7 pm every day. Transportation of construction materials is allowed from 9 pm to 5 am. Earlier, Kathmandu Metropolitan City has decided to resume classes in physical presence in schools of its territory before Dashain vacation.
In a meeting with stakeholders on Thursday, the education committee of the KMC had decided to open schools partially before the Dashain festival. The committee decided to set criteria for opening schools in physical presence.
“As per the criteria, some schools may resume classes partially while others may not. Therefore, physical classes will not come into full operation now, but as a warm-up to operate schools in full-fledge after Dashain and Tihar festivals, we will let some schools open partially,” Ram Prasad Subedi, Education Section, head of the KMC, said.
Dashain and Tihar are the greatest festivals of Hindu people and people are preparing to celebrate them in October and November. Therefore, schools can resume classes only for about 15 days before Dashain holidays. According to Subedi, the KMC formed a sub-committee to set the criteria to resume classes physically. The committee will prepare a draft of the criteria by Friday and it will be approved by a meeting of the education committee, which is called for coming Monday, Subedi said.
“The main thing is that we want to convey a positive message that physical classes in the Kathmandu Valley schools will resume before Dashain,” he said. In Thursday’s meeting, representatives from guardians, teachers, school operators, and school management committees were present. Earlier on Wednesday, a meeting of stakeholders held at the Ministry of Health and Population, however, suggested not to resume classes prior to the festivals.
Despite some stakeholders recommending not to resume classes before Dashain as there is still risk of virus spread in Kathmandu, local governments have decided to resume classes physically now. Other local governments of the Kathmandu Valley have also decided to resume physical classes.