The Himachal Pradesh government has ordered the closure of all educational institutions including universities, colleges, technical institutes and schools till April 4 as a precautionary measure due the recent spike in Covid-19 cases in the state, an official said.

According to the decision taken during a high-level meeting presided over by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur here on Friday, classrooms will remain open for students who are giving their exams during this period. Some primary schools in the state were already closed due to the COVID-19 threat and will continue to remain so till the end of next week.

The chief minister said schools having residential facilities need not close their hostels, however, they would have to comply with all the standard operating procedures to keep the residential areas cut off and appoint a ‘compliance officer’ to ensure all orders are followed.

Thakur said, teachers, and other school and college staff would continue to attend the institutions. No social and cultural events would be organised in the state by the government and public gatherings would be restricted to a maximum of 200 people for indoors and 50 per cent for outdoor events.

Thakur said nursing and medical institutions would continue to function as usual. He said congregations and ‘langars’ inside temples are banned but ‘darshans’ would be allowed.

The chief minister said there would be no public celebration of Holi and urged people to celebrate the festival at their home with family members. Thakur said all frontline workers would be sensitised to get themselves vaccinated at the earliest completing their second dose according to schedule.

It was also decided in the meeting that respective district administrations would take a call on enforcing additional restrictions keeping in view the positivity and fatality rate in their areas.

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