August 6, 2021 7:20:31 pm
Delhi University (DU) Friday deferred its decision to re-open its campus for science students from August 16. DU officials said they will wait for clarity from the Department of Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) before opening the university.
“In continuation of the office order dated August 5, 2021, the instructions issued for conduct of classes for PG and UG programmes in respect of Science Courses in university and its Colleges in physical mode with effect from August 16, 2021 has been deferred,” Registrar Vikas Gupta said in an office order Friday.
On Thursday, an order had stated that science students will be allowed for classes and laboratory work.
“Taking note of the number of Covid-19 cases, it has been decided that classes and practical/project work etc in respect of PG and UG Programmes students in Science Courses in University and its Colleges shall be conducted in physical mode with effect from 16.08.2021 observing necessary protocol to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” Gupta had said.
On Wednesday, during the first Open Day for UG students too, Gupta had said the university would soon open for science students, but more “caution” will be exercised for the students of Arts and Commerce.
Several teachers and teacher organisations had expressed apprehensions over the decision, claiming it would be difficult to follow Covid protocol as many classrooms and labs were overcrowded.
However, Gupta said the criticism from the university was not a factor in their decision. “We realised that the last DDMA order had said educational institutes should remain closed till August 9. We thought it is better for us to wait and get clarity on what the DDMA has to say, as it should not seem like we’re violating their orders. If they say education institutes can open, we will go ahead as planned,” he said.
The decision to defer the re-opening of the campus was welcomed by a section of teachers. DU Teachers’ Association (DUTA) Treasurer Abha Dev Habib said Thursday’s “sudden notification” had resulted in “immense panic”.
“As the vaccination for 18+ has just started in the country, the university should give time for students to complete their dose. Teaching in overcrowded rooms and labs would have meant a health hazard for all. Many teachers and non-teaching staff, who fell ill during the second wave, are taking the first dose of vaccination now,” she said.
“We all are waiting for normalcy to be restored. As teachers we are worried about the dilution online teaching and examination has caused. However, the University needs to bring a well-thought-of plan. Reopening cannot be a rushed exercise,” she said.
The university had closed in March 2020 due to the Covid pandemic. It was only in February this year that final-year students UG and PG students who needed access to laboratories and libraries were allowed physical entry. However, with the onset of the second Covid wave in April this year, the campus was closed again.
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