Private and Boarding Schools' Organisation-Nepal, an umbrella organisation of all private schools in the country, has urged the government not to close schools citing the risk of a second wave of coronavirus pandemic.

On April 9, the Ministry of Health and Population had recommended to the COV- ID-19 Crisis Management Centre, an apex government body, to close schools in a bid to subdue the risk of the COVID-19 spread. The ministry had urged CCMC to manage online classes instead of physical classes.

The very next day, issuing an 11-point public health safety protocol, CCMC had proposed to authorise all 77 districts to close schools. It had recommended that the Cabinet close schools if the number of the new UK COV- ID-19 variant increased.

In line with PABSON, a press release stated that imposing lockdown alone could not curb the spread of the virus.

"The government should bring a clear policy to ensure that no student would be excluded from education and the national economy wouldn't be hit hard," it said.

The education sector, including private school operators and teachers, have been among the hardest-hit due to the blanket lockdown imposed by the government last year, which began from March 24 and lasted several months.

PABSON emphasised that the geographical terrain of the country, Nepali guardians' economic condition, lack of internet facilities in some places, lack of tech-savvy teachers, among others, would not make it possible for effective operation of online classes as claimed by the government.

PABSON said the best solution for now was to allow schools to operate physical classes by abiding by all the health protocols. "If the situation goes out of hand in any particular area, the local government can allow the hardhit schools to operate online classes and also facilitate them," PABSON Chair Tikaram Puri was quoted as saying in the press release.

It has also urged the guardians to send their children to schools abiding by health protocols and facilitating them with face masks, hand sanitisers and balanced diet.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 12 2021, of The Himalayan Times.