Amid a spike in COVID positive cases, the administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh on Friday evening announced to close all educational institutions in Leh district for 15 days.

Authorities of Ladakh had earlier opened schools in the mountainous region from September 1 following improvement in the COVID-19 situation. Schools are functioning normally in the Kargil district.

Out of the total of 41 positive cases in Ladakh, 38 active cases are in Leh district alone while as remaining three are in Kargil. Since last week, Leh is witnessing a surge in positive cases so authorities have decided to temporarily close all educational institutions for 15 days.

Leh Schools

"All (government/private) schools including residential hostels in Leh district shall remain closed for imparting in-person classes with immediate effect for 15 days from September 18 till 02-10-2021, thereafter, the situation shall be reviewed again. However, online classes shall be encouraged with COVID SoPs," reads the order issued by District Magistrate Leh, Shrikant Balasahib Suse on late Friday evening.

The District Magistrate made it clear that this decision has been taken in view of reporting of fresh positive cases in Leh district.

Officers directed to ensure mandatory COVID tests of students

The District Magistrate has directed Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Chief Education Officer (CMO) Leh to ensure that all students who are leaving from the residential schools/hostels for their homes are mandatorily screened for RT-PCR tests and subsequently undergo home quarantine along with their families for seven days irrespective of their results.

Schools opened in Ladakh on September 1

Administration of Ladakh had opened schools from September 1 after the COVID situation improved in the cold desert. The Ladakh administration, on 1 August, had issued a comprehensive statement highlighting the SOPs that were needed to follow to run the schools.

All educational institutions, including colleges and coaching centres were closed on April 18 in Ladakh after a surge in COVID cases in the UT.

migrant labourers
Migrant labourers waiting for their turn to get ration in Ladakhsocial media

Schools were directed to strictly follow COVID SoPs

While allowing government as well as private institutions to resume classes from September 1, the Ladakh administration had asked the concerned head of the institutions to ensure that COVID-19 SOPs and guidelines, issued by the authorities, should be followed in letter and spirit.

Schools were functioning only with 50 percent attendance in each class. Heads of educational institutions were already directed to conduct RT-PCR tests of students and faculty members before resuming the classes. It was also advised that "so far as practicable" classes are run in an open area.