HEC rejects the Fake news circulating on social media that it has announced the closure of universities in the light of reemerging COVID cases.
In the beginning, when coronavirus started spreading worldwide, countries started going into lockdown mode. And in lockdowns, businesses and educationals institutes alike closed or shifted online For months. While people learned to accept that this was the new normal, they also experienced many obstacles of the lockdown. And hence, before the lockdown lifted, they were looking forward to the country reopening.
Now as the country started reopening, albeit a little differently. There were SOPs to follow and guidelines to maintain. But at least the situation looked a little brighter. COVID-19 was still here, but most people were responsible. And so we saw educational institutes shifting back to their original model of education, the brick, and mortar model. But the new normal was not going to last.
Secondly, as researchers have found out, there would be another, more dangerous wave of COVID once again.
Finally, although the hot temperature does not kill off the virus, in colder climates, the virus thrives. And so the upcoming winter was going to pose a threat.
As expected, the COVID cases started resurging. They could infect the recovered COVID patients as well, this time fiercer. So within 24 hours, when Pakistan saw 707 cases being reported, they assumed that the country would go into lockdown mode once again.
In trying to be one step forward, the public started circulating fake news on social media about HEC. They said that HEC had announced the closure of universities and so everyone should stay home. Now the fake news may have started because some of those people wanted authorities to take action in light of COVID once again, or it began as a prank. But the fake news got intense, and HEC had to diffuse the rumor themselves.
HEC responded on its official facebook page:
Dear Students & Teachers
BEWARE OF ** FAKE ** ANNOUNCEMENTS
Is circulating, claiming that universities have been directed to close campuses and limit the number of students to 30 percent of enrolment. This is FAKE news. HEC has not issued any directions of this nature. Each institution will decide to operate or close as per its specific situation. The Vice-Chancellors are fully empowered to decide related issues of attendance or rotation of students based on the need to protect the health and safety of students as well as faculty and staff. Only the health authorities can direct the closure of universities if the corona incidence rises above a critical threshold. Please note: HEC has not issued any direction for 30 percent attendance. All of HEC’s policy guidance documents related to the Covid-19 crisis are available at HEC Website and can be seen and downloaded from https://www.hec.gov.pk/english/Pages/Covid-19-Guidance.aspx