Supreme Court lawyer Advocate Yunus Ali Akondo has filed a petition to the High Court seeking an order to close schools and other educational institutions for a month as coronavirus cases surge across Bangladesh.
The petition filed in the ‘public interest’ was submitted on Wednesday and named the health secretary and education secretary as the defendants, reports bdnews24.com.
“The bench of Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice SM Maniruzzaman will hear the petition tomorrow,” the lawyer said.
The government shut all education institutions in March 2020 after the coronavirus was detected in Bangladesh and began to spread across the country. The closure was extended several times due to the continuing pandemic.
Bangladesh finally reopened its education institutions on Sept 12 last year, after 543 days of closure. Students were allowed to return to in-person classes and the SSC and HSC exams were held.
Omicron, a new variant of the coronavirus, was first detected last November, and soon spread across the world. Bangladesh reported its first omicron cases on Dec 11.
Due to the prevalence of the new strain, virus cases have surged again in Bangladesh. The government imposed an 11-point list of restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of the pathogen. This includes a ban on all types of congregations including social, religious and political gatherings.
The government has no immediate plans to close in-person classes in schools and will ‘try their best’ to keep the classes running while ensuring the protection of the students, said Education Minister Dipu Moni.
The minister said a shutdown would hamper the vaccination of students, which she said was proceeding across Bangladesh in full swing.
“We are watching the matter closely,” Education Minister Dipu Moni said last week.
The Appellate Division and the High Court Division went back to virtual court proceedings on Wednesday, after an uptick in virus cases.
Under the present circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, all judicial tasks of the High Court Division benches will be done using information technology from Wednesday, according to a Supreme Court statement.