Jammu and Kashmir’s State Executive Committee (SEC) on Sunday extended the closure of educational institutions till July 15 and retained most of the guidelines already in effect as it reviewed the Covid-19 situation in the union territory. Earlier on June 20, the SEC had lifted weekend curfews from eight of the 20 districts amid a significant improvement in the overall situation. Night curfews, however, continue to be in effect across Jammu and Kashmir.
Chief Secretary A K Mehta, who is also the chairman of the SEC, issued an order saying the decision was taken at a meeting with focus on total weekly new cases (per million), total positivity rate, bed occupancy, case fatality rate and vaccination coverage of targeted population. All universities, colleges and technical skill development institutions shall remain closed for imparting on campus/in-person education to the students till July 15, except for the courses/programs that require physical presence of students on account of laboratory/research/thesis work and internship etc. Teaching in all these institutions will be in on-line mode, the order said.
It said all schools and coaching centres would also continue to remain closed for imparting on-campus or in-person education till July 15. All educational institutions were closed across J&K in April following a spike in Covid-19 cases, but students have been attending classes online.
Students in the summer zone of Jammu are on a summer vacation from June 8 to July 25. While schools in Kashmir and parts of Jammu falling under the winter zone observe a nearly three-month-long winter vacation and a 10-day summer vacation annually, the summer zone schools in Jammu usually observe a one-and-a-half-month-long summer vacation and a brief winter break every year.
The SEC said there would be no restrictions on entry of passengers, returnees or travellers coming to Jammu and Kashmir, whether by road, rail or air. However, they would have to compulsorily undergo a Covid-19 antigen test through any of the prescribed methods as per the protocol of the government of J&K, the order said, adding that the protocol for management of Covid positive persons would be followed for all positive cases.
Travellers carrying valid and verifiable negative RT-PCR report of 48 hours prior from a recognised testing facility (a copy of which shall be retained by authorities – any false certificate shall render a person liable for action under law) shall be permitted to enter without having to undergo a re-test at the entry point, the order said. It asked deputy commissioners to intensify the Covid-19 vaccination drive.
All closed public places like government/private offices, banks etc., modes of public transport particularly the local trains/buses etc., malls and showrooms are encouraged to take measures that allow entry/access of such facilities only to the vaccinated people, or if a person is not vaccinated, to a person carrying valid Covid-19 negative test report within 48 hours prior to entry or on spot test, it added.