The education ministry will decide whether to shut down the educational institutions or to keep them open after a meeting with the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 today.
Noted virologist Professor Nazrul Islam told The Business Standard, "We will sit with the education ministry on Tuesday to discuss the issue in detail. A decision will be taken following the discussion with the education ministry, health ministry and other stakeholders."
He said currently the infection rate is high, but the recent infections have been milder than those seen in the previous waves. The ministry can run the academic activities if the mild infection continues and the death rate remains low.
"Mild infection develops immunity in the children's body. The students can attend classes if they receive vaccines and wear masks all the time," said Dr Nazrul Islam, a member of the National Technical Advisory Committee.
The education ministry officials said they think that closing schools should be the last resort as most of the students aged between 12 and 18 have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while providing the second dose started from Monday.
On condition of anonymity, an education ministry official told TBS that the ministry could not launch an initiative to recover the learning losses after reopening the educational institutions. The total education sector will face severe problems if the educational institutions are shut down again.
"That is why, the ministry will try its best to keep the institutions open and continue the classes as per the given schedule," he added.
One crore students out of 1.16 crore aged between 12 and 18 have received the first dose of the vaccine, while five lakh received two doses.
There are 44 lakh students at the higher education level. Among them, 23 lakh got the first dose of the vaccine and 17 lakh received two doses.
The National University students could take the vaccine showing their college identity cards across the country from Monday.
Following a circular issued by the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education in January this year, Secondary School Certificate (SSC) candidates of 2022 have been attending classes on four subjects six days a week.
Meanwhile, the tenth graders have been attending classes on three subjects six days a week. The eighth and ninth graders have been attending classes on three subjects twice a week, and sixth and seventh graders on three subjects once a week.
Regarding vaccinating children aged below 12, Professor Nazrul Islam told TBS that only the USA is providing Covid-19 vaccines to all the children.
"We follow the World Health Organization's directions. It has not given us any instruction in this regard yet," he said.
Regarding the matter, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said on Monday, "The WHO is yet to provide any instruction about giving vaccines to children below 12. That is why they can attend classes without vaccines."
With the country's Covid-19 situation deteriorating fast, 10 more deaths and 6,676 new Covid-19 cases were reported in the last 24 hours till 8am Monday. Besides, the current positivity rate went up to 20.88% from 17.82% a day ago.