Some schools in the Kathmandu Valley have reopened after being shut down for more than four months amid the Covid-19 pandemic. "A limited number of schools in Kathmandu district have reopened on Friday as per the information that I received in the morning," Govinda Prasad Rijal, chief district officer of Kathmandu, told Xinhua news agency. "I don't have the exact number of schools reopened in Kathmandu district."
On Thursday, the district administration office issued a public notice allowing the reopening of schools in the district based on decisions of local governments, consultations with parents, and ensuring vaccination of teachers and other employees.
Rijal said all the schools might not reopen before the Dashain festival which begins on October 7. "A number of schools are in favour of reopening after the upcoming festival season ends," he said.
Most schools in Kathmandu did not reopen on Friday as the capital city's government is yet to make a decision. "We have not yet decided to reopen schools in the city," spokesperson Ishworman Dangol told Xinhua. "We have arranged stakeholders meeting for September 20 and based on the scheduled meeting, we will decide whether to reopen schools."
In fact, schools in Nepal had not been running smoothly ever since Covid-19 hit the country in early 2020. Even though schools started to reopen in late 2020, they were closed again after the second wave of the virus struck in April. Earlier this month, the Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur districts in the Kathmandu Valley lifted the lockdown imposed since April 29, as new infections had remained relatively low.
According to owners of private schools, the schools are expected to reopen gradually in the valley, but the majority of schools outside the valley have already reopened. Tikaram Puri, president of the Private & Boarding Schools' Organisation Nepal, told Xinhua that most schools in the valley except those in the capital city reopened on Friday.
"Schools ensuring access to good online education may continue to remain closed until the upcoming major festivals, but other schools failing to ensure all students an online education have reopened," he said. Nepal reported 1,086 new infections and 10 fatalities in the past 24 hours, taking the total infection tally to 783,075 and the death toll to 11,012.