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Srinagar colleges allowed to resume offline classes

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Schools closed in Leh as Ladakh reports 71 new COVID-19 cases

Srinagar: The district administration Srinagar has allowed degree colleges in the district to reopen for offline classes for all semesters.

An order issued in this regard by Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Mohammed Aijaz Asad, who is also the Chairman of the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), directed heads of the institutions to ensure that COVID-19 SOPs and guidelines issued by the district administration are followed in letter and spirit.

The college administrations have also been asked to ensure completion of vaccination process in two days from beginning of the in-person classes.

“Any violation of these orders shall invite action under Section 188 of IPC, Disaster Management Act, 2005 and Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897,” the order reads.

The decision has been taken in reference to the government order issued on September 10 allowing limited attendance of vaccinated staff and students and in view the various representations received by the district administration regarding opening of degree colleges.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha had earlier announced that the colleges and universities in the UT will be opened by the September end.

Significantly, the decision to reopen colleges for in-person classes in Srinagar comes at a time when the district is witnessing an abrupt surge in the COVID-19 cases. On Friday, 62 percent cases across J&K were reported from the Srinagar district alone.

The district administration claims that the spread was not in whole district but from several pockets and areas where contact-tracing is on besides other preventive measures put in place to control the spread of the deadly virus.

Meanwhile, all schools in Leh district were closed for 15 days from Saturday after Ladakh reported 71 fresh cases of COVID-19, the highest single-day rise in the past over two months,  taking the overall infection tally to 20,702, officials said.

A majority of the new cases were detected from Druk Padma Karpo School Shey, prompting the District Development Commissioner (Leh) Shrikant Balasaheb Suse to notify the school campus as a containment zone to stop further spread of the infection, they said.

Suse, who is also the chairman of Leh district disaster management authority, ordered closure of all government and private schools in the district for 15 days from September 18 to October 2.

In an order issued late Friday, the district magistrate said the decision was taken in view of reporting of fresh COVID-19 cases in schools and in the interest of the public health and safety.

However, the order, said online classes would be encouraged with Covid standard operating procedures (SOPS).

Leh’s chief medical officer and chief education officer have been directed to ensure that the students leaving from residential schools or hostels for their homes are mandatorily screened for RT-PCR test.

The students have to undergo home quarantine along with their family members for seven days irrespective of their results, the order said, adding that “any violation of the directions shall invite strict action under relevant sections of DM Act, 2005.”

Of the 71 new cases, the officials said 70 cases, including dozens of students were detected in Leh and one in Kargil.

There are now 109 active cases in Ladakh, including 106 in Leh and three in Kargil, they said.

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