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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Bengaluru: As colleges reopen, BBMP to deploy Covid swab collection teams near campuses

Colleges have made RT-PCR tests for students, teachers, and non-teaching staff mandatory at least 72 hours before they enter their respective campuses.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bangalore | Updated: November 17, 2020 8:17:32 am
Bengaluru colleges reopen, Bangalore colleges reopen, Covid test for students Bengaluru, begaluru covid testing centres, mobile swab collection bengaluru, BBMP, Bengaluru news, Bangalore news, indian expressThe 432 colleges located within BBMP limits have around 60,000 students, teachers, and non-teaching staff members. (File)

With colleges and hostels in Karnataka set to reopen Tuesday, Bengaluru’s local civic body, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), is on its toes to ensure that the guidelines and standard operating procedure issued by the state government are followed.

With mandatory RT-PCR tests for students, teachers, and non-teaching staff of colleges at least 72 hours before they enter their respective campuses, the BBMP has decided to deploy mobile swab collection teams near colleges and higher education institutions across the city.

Confirming this, BBMP Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad told that around 450 mobile swab collection teams from the nearest public healthcare centres (PHCs) will be deployed to help with collecting samples that can be sent for testing free of cost. “This is in addition to the 141 BBMP Urban PHCs that have been mapped to colleges, where samples will be collected between 9 am and 5 pm,” he said.

Prasad said the 432 colleges located within BBMP limits have around 60,000 students, teachers, and members of the non-teaching staff. “The colleges are expecting around 30 per cent student attendance initially. BBMP’s swab collection units will be able to cover this population within two days. With more students expected to attend classes in the coming days, more teams will be deployed near the higher education institutions,” he said.

Further, the BBMP has also decided to follow up testing in a bid to avoid delays in sample collection. “Samples taken will be sent promptly to labs to get reports within 24 hours. Medical officers will monitor the process to avoid delays and will send sample collection data daily to the higher authorities,” another BBMP official added.

At the same time, Prasad added that test reports will be available for access and to be downloaded as a PDF copy at on entering the Specimen Referral Form (SRF) ID.

Reacting to the same, Priya Prakash, a final year student at a private college in Bengaluru, said, “This, if implemented properly, will help students like me who have been in a fix on how to get samples tested on time. However, my college has made offline classes available only for final year students and has asked us to furnish a negative Covid-19 certificate online three days prior to the day each student plans to attend offline classes.”

The Karnataka government, in October, had decided to reopen engineering, diploma, and degree colleges (including PG) that were shut due to the coronavirus pandemic. Students have been given options to attend online or offline classes, or avail blended learning by using both options.

Earlier last week, Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar had announced the government’s decision to reopen all medical, dental, AYUSH, paramedical, nursing, and pharmacy colleges affiliated to the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences from December 1.

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