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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Delhi: 13 students test positive, Stephen’s tightens norms

In the evening, St Stephen’s Principal said the “inner perimeter” of the college was “out for bounds for all”.

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi |
Updated: April 3, 2021 12:46:23 am
St Stephen College, Coronavirus, Delhi coronavirus cases, Delhi news, delhi covid-19 cases, india news, indian expressCases at St Stephen’s College come after a ‘chapel trip’ of 40 students to Dalhousie

Thirteen hostellers and two officials of St Stephen’s College tested positive for Covid Friday, following a ‘chapel trip’ of 40 students to Dalhousie. In the evening, St Stephen’s Principal said the “inner perimeter” of the college was “out for bounds for all”.

“Thirteen resident students have tested positive for Covid this morning. The following measures will come into effect immediately and till further notice to ensure safety for all. The Dean’s Office has already put in necessary and stringent measures to ensure isolation and social distancing for all residents with the usual Covid protocols,” Principal John Varghese said.

“The inner perimeter of the College is out of bounds for all, unless specific clearance is given by the Principal on a case by case basis. The outer perimeter of the College may be accessed by those with relevant and regular work after due process at the security counter. Faculty scheduled to come to College may defer their coming till a notification informs them of an improvement in the situation,” he said.

Sources said Dean/Chaplain Monodeep Daniel and Mess Steward/Security Officer Samuel Shekhar had taken 40 students, 25 of whom are from the hostel, to Dalhousie and returned on March 31. “This Chapel trip is when the Chaplain and others take a trip outside Delhi… It happens every year. But despite cases going up, they decided to take such a large group,” said a source.

Sources said hostellers have been told they would be provided food on their doorstep, and that no orders or deliveries would be allowed henceforth.

When contacted, Daniel said he and Shekhar were among those who tested positive but asked that further queries be addressed to Associate Dean Chinkhanlun Guite. Shekhar said, “You should not be calling” and disconnected the call. Guite asked that queries be addressed to Varghese. While Varghese confirmed that 13 residents had tested positive, he did not respond to queries on why the trip was undertaken during the pandemic.

Some questioned the timing of the trip and opening of hostels and criticised the administration for not officially putting out the information immediately.

“Over 200 students have been allowed to return to the hostel in the last few months, most of them are first- and second-year students, even though classes for them are supposed to be online. Was the permission of the University of Delhi and the state government taken for this…?” Governing Body member Nandita Narain wrote to Varghese Friday.

Varghese responded to Narain’s email late night and said the trip had been planned after taking consent of families of students and was authorised by him. He said he would respond to the other questions when he has “a little more time”.

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