Colombo, Aug 15 (IANS) Sri Lankan universities will resume normal academic activities from Monday onwards, a top official announced.

Addressing the the media on Friday, University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman Professor Sampath Amaratunge said that the regulatory body had allowed the examinations of the third-year students of medical faculties to be held from the July 15, while also gradually expanding the number of students allowed to attend university premises, reports the Daily Financial Times.

Amaratunge expressed satisfaction regarding lectures carried out via online platforms due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, stating that in spite of some challenges the effort had been largely successful.

“Even though many students faced challenges in following lectures online, they were very eager to somehow follow lectures and not be behind in their studies,” he said.

He noted that even after the universities reopen, strict compliance to health guidelines must be ensured, pointing out that the UGC and university staff had been in close consultation with health authorities.

On August 10, all state-owned schools across Sri Lanka re-opened after being shut for over a month amid the pandemic, Xinhua news agency.

Schools re-opened for all grades under strict health guidelines which included students wearing face masks and maintaining hand hygiene at regular intervals.

Desks in classrooms were also kept at a one-metre distance and students were prohibited from going to playgrounds or taking part in sports.

All schools in the island nation were shut in mid-March when Sri Lanka detected its first local COVID-19 infection.

Schools were later re-opened for selected grades in July but were closed again following the threat of a fresh outbreak of the virus.

As of Saturday, Sri Lanka reported a total of 2,881 coronavirus cases, 11 deaths and 2,638 recoveries.



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