One and a half years after they were asked to close campuses for students, colleges and universities in Pune can now welcome them back from October 11. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar announced Friday that institutes of higher education in the district can open for physical classes provided that the students are fully vaccinated.
Last month, the state government had allowed schools to reopen and was under pressure to open colleges and universities as well. Although the government is yet to make a state-wide declaration, Pawar has made the announcement for Pune district alone after chairing the weekly Covid-19 review meeting.
“From October 11, colleges and universities are being permitted to open for physical classes. However, it’s mandatory that the students (who want to attend classes) have taken both doses of the vaccine. Students who come from outside Pune will also be required to show a negative RT-PCR test before he or she will be allowed inside the campus,” Pawar said.
Asked if students who have got only one dose of the vaccine will be given concession if they produce a negative RT-PCR test on the first day, Pawar stressed that “full vaccination is mandatory” and those who have got only one dose of the vaccine will have to wait until they get the second dose before they are allowed to attend classes.
“This is also the view taken by the administration of the colleges and universities with whom we consulted. However, we are pushing the central government to reduce the duration between the two vaccine doses. In the beginning it was 21 and 28 days, now it’s 84 days. Considering the availability of the vaccines now it can be reduced, but it is up to them to decide,” said Pawar.
Restaurants can remain open till 11 pm
The meeting also decided to extend the timings of restaurants by an hour, which means they can now stay open till 11 pm. Pawar said the decisions have been taken considering the improvement in the Covid situation. “We are also allowing tourist spots to reopen from Monday. Theatres and cinema halls will be allowed to reopen from October 22, but at 50 per cent seating capacity,” said Pawar.