Coronavirus: Schools Upto Primary Level Closed In Six J&K Districts

Morning Assemblies Suspended In Kupwara, Others To Follow Suit

Srinagar, Mar 07 : As a precautionary measure amid growing concern over coronavirus spread, authorities have ordered the closure of schools in six districts in Jammu and Kashmir including four in Valley.

Talking to GNS, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Khan said that the classwork in all private and government schools upto primary level have been ordered to be closed from March 9 in four districts including Srinagar, Budgam, Baramulla and Bandipora till further orders.

The step has been taken as a precautionary measure, Khan said.

Earlier, the authorities ordered the closure of primary schools in Jammu and Samba districts and also suspended the biometric attendance in view of the medical reports about two persons which suggested “high probability” of testing positive for COVID-19.

“Test reports of the two suspected patients from Jammu have been received. Both (are) high viral load cases. There is high probability of testing positive,” Principal Secretary, Planning and Monitoring and Information Rohit Kansal had told GNS.

Kansal, who is also the government spokesman, had said that schools have been closed as a part of precautionary measure as all protocols are being followed by the administration.

Subsequently, An order issued by Director School Education, Jammu reads, “It is hereby ordered that there shall be no class work of Primary classes in both Government and Private Schools(JKBOSE, CBSE,ICSE etc.) of Jammu and Samba Districts, till 31st March, 2020. However, Teachers shall continue to attend the schools. In case of any examination in respect of Primary classes during this period, the same shall stand postponed and the schools shall notify fresh dates separately.”

Meanwhile, District Magistrate, Jammu ordered closure of schools upto primary level under section 144 of CrPC, citing the situation arisen due to the threat posed by CoVID-19 Virus across the world.

The order stated that “Whereas the prevailing health situation (due to COVID-19) in several countries of the world has given rise to serious concerns in India as well; and whereas, COVID-19 has a pattern of transmission at a rapid rate in case prescribed preventive protocols, like avoiding mass gatherings etc., are not strictly followed; and Whereas, it is felt that children, particularly up to the Primary School level, should not be sent to schools to avoid mass gatherings; and whereas, section 144 of CrPC empowers the undersigned to issue certain directions/orders in urgent case of nuisances of apprehended danger when it is considered that such direction is likely to prevent danger to human life, health or safety. As such, for the reasons mentioned above, it is hereby ordered that all Government and Private schools up to the Primary level shall close with immediate effect.”

The order further stated that ‘Administering of exams shall also not be a reason for making students up to primary level to attend the schools.’ This order shall remain in effect till 31st March, 2020 and any violation of this order shall invite action under Indian Penal Code, the order stated further.

Meanwhile, a senior officer of the administration told GNS that the biometric attendance has been suspended till end of this month. The step follows concerns by many over the use of biometric attendance.

Deputy Commissioner Kupwara in the meantime ordered suspending of morning assemblies by all schools in the north Kashmir district.

“Morning assembly shall remain suspended in all schools of Kupwara district till March 31,” the deputy commissioner Kupwara Anshul Garg said.

Meanwhile, higher authorities have asked respective deputy commissioners to order suspension of assemblies in schools in wake of the novel virus threat. A formal order was expected in this regard, they said..