A meeting presided over by Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood and comprising provincial education ministers on Thursday decided that schools across country would remain open as of now despite the rising number of coronavirus infections and deaths. The decision was made unanimously by all provincial education ministers after health ministry officials briefed the participants of the online meeting on Pakistan’s coronavirus situation. The meeting’s participants agreed that in the current situation, there was no need to close the educational institutes. “Educational institutes across the country will remain open,” the meeting decided. The meeting, however, ruled that there would be no winter holidays in Punjab, while a decision on whether there would minimal number of winter holidays or none at all would depend on geography of the respective provinces. However, a private TV channel reported that the meeting could not make a decision about the board examinations of the eighth, ninth and tenth classes. Earlier in the day, Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas said reports of schools being closed amid the worsening coronavirus situation were ‘fake news’. “Just got done with the meeting of all Education Ministers of Pakistan. Schools in Punjab will remain OPEN & run on the current schedule. All other news is FAKE NEWS. COVID 19 situation is under control as of now. Please follow SOPs issued by School Education Department Punjab,” Raas tweeted. The next meeting of inter-provincial education ministers is scheduled in December 2020. Earlier this week, the Higher Education Commission had confirmed that universities in the country were not being closed again. The HEC had said that only the health authorities could direct the closure of universities if they felt that coronavirus cases had risen above the critical threshold. Pakistan reopened its schools in September after a closure of over six months.