Govt Allows Higher Educational Institutions To Resume Physical Classes If Staff, Students Vaccinated

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday granted permission to higher educational institutions to resume off-line classes provided all staff members and students are fully vaccinated, over four months after shutting them owing to the second wave of COVID-19.

According to Govt order No.65-JK (DMRRR) Of 2021, the administration, however, extended the closure of schools and coaching centres till further orders.

It also decided to dispense with the mandatory testing for COVID-19 at the entry point to the Union Territory at Lakhanpur for those who have received both dosages of vaccine and allow entry of vaccinated persons into public parks.

The decisions were taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary A K Mehta.

It was decided to retain most of the COVID-19-containment guidelines, including night curfew, and the district magistrates were directed to strictly ensure that there is full compliance with Covid-appropriate behaviour and defaulters are firmly dealt with under relevant sections of the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code.

In an order issued after a detailed review of the COVID-19 situation with focus on total weekly new cases (per million), total positivity rate, bed occupancy, case fatality rate and vaccination coverage of targeted population, Mehta who is also the chairperson of the State Executive Committee (SEC) said all schools and coaching centres would continue to remain closed for onsite or in-person teaching till further orders.

“However, the higher educational institutions can be permitted to commence with limited in-person teaching subject to 100 percent vaccination of staff and students and specific permission of concerned deputy commissioners,” the order said.

It said such institutions can organise special vaccination camps in consultation with the district administration.

“Other educational institutions can allow attendance of vaccinated staff for administrative purposes,” Mehta said.

In a series of measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 infection, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on April 18 had ordered closure of all educational institutions, including universities and colleges, till further orders.

The maximum number of people permitted to attend any indoor or outdoor gathering would be strictly restricted to 25, the order said, adding there would be no weekend curfew in any district but the night curfew would continue to remain in force in all districts from 8 pm to 7 am till further orders.

“At entry point to UT of J&K at Lakhanpur, mandatory testing for COVID can be dispensed with for those who have received both doses of vaccine provided a reliable and verifiable system can be put in place in consultation with the medical team,” the chief secretary said.

He said the entry into public parks can be permitted to vaccinated persons with due verification.

Directing for ‘no drop’ in COVID-19 testing levels, Mehta said the Deputy Commissioners would also focus on the positivity rates of the medical blocks under their jurisdictions.

The Deputy Commissioners would keep active track of the positivity rates in blocks and consider implementing stricter control measures in closed clustered spaces like a public or private offices, community halls, malls and bazaars in case weekly positivity rate goes beyond four per cent in these blocks, reads the order issued by Chief Secretary.

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