The government has no immediate plans to close in-person classes in schools, as Covid-19 infections in the institutions have not been reported amid surging infections and the spread of the omicron variant.
“We are watching the matter closely,” Education Minister Dipu Moni said while speaking to reporters after attending a programme at Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre in Savar on Sunday, reports bdnews24.com.
She argued a shutdown will hamper the vaccination of students that she said was proceeding across Bangladesh in full swing.
“And we have not received reports of infections in any educational institution. The Directorate General of Health Services is also monitoring this.”
“We’re communicating with the National Advisory Committee [on COVID-19]. We’re not thinking about closing the institutions now,” she said.
The minister had earlier unveiled the government’s plan to administer at least one dose of the vaccine to all the students aged between 12 and 18 within Jan 31.
The government closed all educational institutions in March 2020 as part of the sweeping restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the country. Once the situation improved, students returned to the classroom on Sept 12 last year.
But as the dust began to settle on the devastation wreaked by the delta variant, scientists in South Africa discovered the omicron strain in November.
Now infections, including with omicron, are rising at an alarming rate.
Bangladesh, like many other countries, has reimposed some restrictions and begun providing a booster dose of the vaccine to the elderly and the frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19 as part of measures to deal with the new variant, which is highly contagious but less severe.
“We must follow all the health rules to tackle the coronavirus. We’ll decide about closing the institutions later if necessary,” said Dipu Moni.