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Punjab: Amid Covid surge, education minister declares preparatory leave for finals for all classes

Punjab recorded 1,414 Covid cases, 34 deaths -- highest single-day toll this month -- on Friday

By: Express News Service | Ludhiana |
Updated: March 13, 2021 1:38:41 am
Surge in Covid-19 cases has led to extension of school closure. (Express Photo by Kamleshwar Singh)

In view of the Covid-19 surge in Punjab, the state education department on Friday declared preparatory leave for all classes in government, government aided and private schools ahead of final exams.

The final exams will be conducted offline, as per schedule, while adhering to Covid guidelines.

Punjab School Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla said teachers will continue to remain present in school. Students in need of guidance from their teachers regarding exam preparation can come to school.

The schools have been directed to ensure there is no crowding on their premises during examinations. Detailed directions for conducting examinations while ensuring compliance with Covid guidelines will be issued by the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT). Schools, where students and teachers have tested positivw will have to follow guidelines issued by the health department.

Moreover, directions to follow the instructions issued from time to time by the Centre as well as state government have also been issued said Singla.

Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) has already released the schedule of board examinations. Examinations for class V would start from March 16, for VIII and XII from March 22 and matriculation exams for class X will start from April 9. The examinations of non-board classes including VI, VII, IX and XI will start from March 15 and for classes I to IV, from March 17.

The Punjab government had ordered reopening of schools in a phased manner from October 15 last year. Schools were opened for classes 9 to 12 from October 15, 2020. Then on January 6 this year, orders were issued to open schools for classes 5 to 8 as well. For classes 3 and 4, schools were opened from January 27 and for pre-primary and classes 1 and 2, they were opened from February 1.

However, soon after schools reopened, both teachers and students started testing positive in many districts with Ludhiana, Nawanshahr and Patiala reporting maximum cases from schools.

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1414 new cases, 34 deaths

Punjab recorded 1,414 fresh Covid cases and 34 more deaths — the highest single-day toll this month — as per the state bulletin, Friday.
Six each died in Mohali and Jalandhar, five each in Hoshiarpur and Amritsar, two each in Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran and one each in Fazilka, Ludhiana, Ropar, Sangrur and SBS Nagar.

Earlier, 20 deaths were reported on March 9, seventeen deaths were reported on March 7 and on March 1 there were 18 deaths. The highest Covid toll in Punjab was reported on September 2 last year when 106 persons died in a day.

This is the second Covid wave being witnessed in Punjab after the single-day highest count of 2,896 cases was reported on September 17, 2020. It was on October 5, 2020, that daily cases had last crossed the 1,000 mark and 1,062 cases were reported that day.

With 34 more deaths, the state’s Covid toll so far reached 6,030.

With 1,414 fresh coronavirus cases, the total infections reached 1,94,753. Maximum fresh cases were recorded in Mohali (194), Hoshiarpur (188) and Patiala (152).

While 23 patients in Punjab continue to be ‘critical and on ventilator support’, 222 are on oxygen support.

Jalandhar district has the maximum active cases (1,356).

Day 12 of phase 2 of vaccination drive

As many as 11,577 beneficiaries (60+ and 45-59 years with co-morbidities) were vaccinated in Punjab Friday. With this, a total of 82,221 beneficiaries from this category have been vaccinated since phase 2 started on March 1.

A total of 2.02 lakh beneficiaries (healthcare + frontline workers) with dose 1 and 63,575 with dose 2, have been vaccinated in Punjab in phase 1, till Friday.

In total for phase 1 and 2, Punjab has administered 3.45 lakh doses of Covid vaccine.

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