Madhyapur Thimi Municipality will not reopen schools until after Chhath

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At a time when the metropolitan cities of Kathmandu and Lalitpur come under criticism for ignoring advice from health experts against reopening schools amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the neighboring municipality of Madhyapur-Thimi has decided not to resume his schools only after the Chhath festival, which falls in mid-November.

Despite concerns from experts and parents of children, the metropolitan city of Lalitpur has reopened its schools since last week while the metropolitan city of Kathmandu is consulting with stakeholders to resume schools from this week. Many schools in Kathmandu have already started to organize physical classes.

“We have asked all educational institutions under our jurisdiction not to hold physical classes before the Chhath festival,” said Madan Sundar Shrestha, mayor of Madhyapur Thimi municipality.

“We still have 4 to 6 people under the age of 18 who are infected with Covid-19. Opening schools is always risky, ”said Shrestha.

Madhyapur Thimi Municipality carried out polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing at the Nepal Korea Friendship Hospital. According to municipal records, 18 to 22 people test positive for Covid-19 every day and the municipality currently has 350 active cases.

“At our meeting last week, I informed the private school operator organizations – PABSON and N-PABSON – that we were not going to have physical classes because the Covid-19 situation was not happening. ‘is not satisfactorily improved, ”Shrestha said.

The Federation of Guardians of Nepal and public health experts welcomed the municipality’s decision.

“All local organizations with a high population density should learn from the municipality of Madhyapur-Thimi,” said Suprabhat Bhandari, president of the federation. “Sunday data shows 65 cases of Covid-19 have been detected among people aged 11 to 20. With the infection still active, schools should not be open at least until the end of the holiday season, ”Bhandari said.

Madhyapur Thimi Municipality has 70 educational institutions — 18 community schools and 52 private schools — with over 3,500 students.

Mayor Shrestha said that with the Dashain festival just three weeks away, it would be wise not to reopen schools.

Meanwhile, the metropolitan city of Bhaktapur has yet to decide when to reopen its schools.

“We are still in a wait and see mode,” said the mayor of Bhaktapur, Sunil Prajapati. “We are under pressure to reopen schools, so we are assessing the risks. ”

The metropolitan city of Kathmandu is due to hold a meeting with stakeholders on Tuesday to decide whether or not to reopen the schools.

“The meeting will decide whether physical classes can be organized,” said Ram Prasad Subedi, head of the education department of the metropolitan city of Kathmandu.

The metropolitan city of Kathmandu is still in the high-risk area in terms of coronavirus transmission.

The City had 2,465 active cases from Sunday. So far, the City has recorded a total of 80,716 Covid-19 infections and 536 deaths.

Public health experts said the metropolitan city of Kathmandu should take extra precautions and suggested that schools should open after the holiday season ends and more people have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Records from the Ministry of Health and Population show a total of 55,07380 people across the country were fully vaccinated on Friday. Likewise, 6,083,124 received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

“More vaccines are coming and we will have more people vaccinated by the end of the holiday season. So we should not rush to reopen schools now, ”said Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, head of clinical research unit at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Diseases Hospital, Teku.

He said the Covid-19 infection rate is still over 10%. The country reported 1,075 new cases with eight deaths on Monday. The Kathmandu Valley recorded 396 new infections in the past 24 hours. Among them, 298 cases were confirmed in Kathmandu, 35 in Lalitpur and 63 in Bhaktapur.

Earlier in the first week of September, when the education department of the metropolitan city of Kathmandu announced plans to allow schools to reopen, it drew widespread criticism. The City then reversed its decision.

Department head Subedi told the Post last week that the city had come under pressure from organizations of private school operators and even some public school parents to reopen schools.

The city has a total of 731 educational institutions with more than 365,000 students.

“Kathmandu is a very sensitive area, it is normal to open physical classrooms in remote areas. But local governments in the Kathmandu Valley should be very careful about reopening schools, ”said Bhandari, president of the Guardians Federation Nepal.

Schools and colleges across the country were closed on March 18 last year due to the pandemic. Some schools reopened from the third week of January this year, only to be closed again after three months when the second wave of Covid-19 hit the country.

Kathmandu district chief Gobinda Prasad Rijal said his office did not allow schools to reopen.

“I guess very few schools in Kathmandu have resumed physical classes, but it is the responsibility of local authorities to assess school infrastructure and vulnerability to Covid-19 before deciding to reopen schools under their jurisdiction” , said Rijal.


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