Srinagar: All educational institutes upto Higher Secondary Schools (HSSs) were on Monday closed in Kashmir valley in view of rise in COVID-19 cases in the Union Territory.
While primary classes up to class 9 will remain closed for two weeks; classes from 10th to 12th will be shut down for a week till April 11.
However, health experts are concerned about the decision of the administration to keep gardens open.
Terming the decision of the administration to close schools as the right thing to do, former chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah said, ‘But the contrast with the hands-off approach to the crowds of visitors at the tulip garden is too stark to be ignored’.
The authorities on Sunday ordered closure of all schools from Monday amid upward spiral in the number of COVID-19 cases and likelihood of young children getting infected and transmitting infection in large numbers in Jammu and Kashmir.
All government and private schools in the valley were closed in the valley, where the decision about the functioning of private coaching centres will be taken in two days. The decision about the attendance of teachers in government schools will also be taken in one or two days, official sources said.
An order issued by the Chief Education Officer, Srinagar, has directed all heads of schools to start online classes from Monday so that the students don’t suffer academically.
The Health experts said that thousands of people are visiting gardens, including Tulip garden and Badamwari garden in Srinagar, with any regards to COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. “If the administration was serious about curtailing the spread of this virus, gardens should be closed and strict action should be taken against people violating SOPs, including not wearing masks and maintaining social distancing in public places,” they added.
Meanwhile, Mr Abdullah said that a well considered uniform strategy is needed for the second wave of COVID-19. “Shutting schools up to class 9 in Kashmir for a couple of weeks is the right thing to do but the contrast with the hands-off approach to the crowds of visitors at the tulip garden is too stark to be ignored,” the former chief minister wrote on micro-blogging site twitter.
Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Sunday said that in view of rising trend in COVID-19 cases in J&K and likelihood of young children getting infected and transmitting infection in large numbers, all classes upto 9th standard will be closed for two weeks from Monday till 18 April 21.
He said classes 10, 11 and 12 will also be closed for one week in all schools from Monday till April 11, 2021 in entire Jammu and Kashmir. “All gatherings for social and customary functions will be restricted to 200 only and after following due COVID SOPs,” he added.
Amid a spike in COVID cases, Jammu and Kashmir government last month classified Srinagar as an orange zone while all other districts have been declared as green zones, whereas Lakhanpur was declared as a containment zone and Jawahar Tunnel area on either side as Red zones. As many as 573 new positive cases of novel Coronavirus, including 451 from Kashmir division and 122 from Jammu division, were reported on Sunday, when three persons died due to COVID-19 in the UT.