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Bangladesh to shut schools if COVID cases spike again

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-09-10 15:16:01 BdST


The health ministry will recommend another phase of school closures to protect students in the event of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases and deaths, according to Health Minister Zahid Maleque.

Most educational institutions across the country are set to reopen next week after 18 months but the fate of in-person learning will depend on how the coronavirus pandemic pans out, he warned on Friday.

“Everything is (now) related to coronavirus infections. The schools and colleges are reopening as the virus cases have ebbed. If we see another alarming spread of the pathogen, then it’ll fall on the education ministry to decide whether to shut down schools and colleges," the minister said while visiting the Government Titumir College amid the admission test for dental studies.

"We’ll provide our recommendations accordingly. We don't want our students to get infected.”

As students gear up to return to classrooms on Sunday, the government is also pressing ahead with its plans to hold the SSC, HSC, PSC and JSC tests along with the regular annual exams towards the end of the year.

Asked about the plans to vaccinate school-going children, Maleque said the World Health Organization has not approved vaccination for those aged below 18 years even though some countries are inoculating children above the age of 12.

“Two or three countries are vaccinating young people on a trial basis. We’re following the issue and have discussed it with the WHO. We’ll provide the vaccine when we get their approval.”

The bachelor of dental studies or BDS admission test, which was deferred last year due to the pandemic, was held in various centres across the country on Friday.

As many as 545 students will be admitted to the government-run dental colleges and units, while 1,405 students will enter private dental institutions.

On Feb 8, the Department of Health Education published the admission test schedule for MBBS and BDS admission test for 2020-21 academic year.

The MCQ test for medical admission was held on Apr 2 amid widespread coronavirus cases. The dental college admission test scheduled on Apr 30, however, was deferred due to the second wave of pandemic.