Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood on Friday said different suggestions were being considered for stage-wise reopening of educational institutions on Sept 15 across the country under strict standard operating procedures. The final decision to this effect will be taken on September 07 in the Inter Provincial Education Ministers’ Conference (IPEMC), the minister told a press conference at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC). After taking final decision in the IPEMC, initially the higher educational institutions (from 9th and above) will be opened while, after reviewing the pandemic situation for one week, 6th to 8th classes will also be opened, he elaborated. “If the corona related indicators will remain normal, the primary classes will be started,” he said. He refused to take any step that would affect children’s health as it was top priority of the government. He expressed satisfaction on the overall coronavirus-related indicators, stating that the number of cases had been declined. “Pandemic has badly affected the education of students. We will review the educational loss of students during the last six months in consultation with the provinces. The students’ learning level will be checked and the schools will be advised in that regard,” he added.Meanwhile, the NCOC asked the provinces to ensure health guidelines and SOPs at schools and other educational institutions after recommencement to be announced soon and increase contact tracing and quarantining of affected people. Speaking on the occasion, Asad Umar said the provincial governments should increase their existing capacity of contact tracing and quarantining in order to mitigate the expected impact of public gatherings during the month of Muharram. The provincial representatives through video link briefed the Forum on existing testing capacity, number of positive cases, positivity trends and framework underway for testing of schools after recommencement.