Colleges and universities in Chennai reopened their gates for final year undergraduate students of arts and science, engineering, agriculture, fisheries, and veterinary courses today. The in-person classes resumed in the city after a gap of eight months. The government has also allowed institutions to reopen for final year polytechnic and hotel management students. The classes for the fresh batch of 2020-21 will commence from February 1.
The state government Saturday had issued SOPs for the reopening of colleges and universities and hostels. Students, teachers, and other college staff are instructed to wear face masks and take all the preventive measures. The colleges have been directed to display proper signages, symbols, and posters at prominent places to create awareness about the risk of infection from the virus. Moreover, the colleges have been strictly instructed to avoid any extra-curricular activities where maintaining physical distancing is not possible.
The varsities present in the containment zones will not be allowed to conduct classroom sessions and students, teachers living from the containment zones will not be allowed to venture into the campus. The institutions have been directed to be ready with a plan to handle the inflow of students, teachers and monitor the safety measures including disinfection, screening, and detecting infected persons, etc. “It should be ensured that not more than 50 per cent of total students are present of time and necessary guidelines/protocols to prevent the spread the Covid-19,” the order read.
Hostel students, who are coming from locations, will remain in a 14-day quarantine period before being allowed to attend classes even if they bring a negative test report or the university or college plan to test them on arrival. They are encouraged to stay in nearby relatives’ house and attend classes. Also, the sharing of rooms is prohibited.
Universities and colleges are directed to reduce the class size and break the programme into multiple sections to maintain physical distancing. For students, who opt not to attend classes and prefer online classes, the institutions are directed to provide the necessary study material and access to e-sources. This applies to international students as well who couldn’t join the programme due to international travel restrictions or visa-related issues.
Further, setting up counselling centres in order to reassure the students’ community to avoid any kind of stress or panic in the current situation is been recommended by the government to all the colleges and universities.
Meanwhile, students residing in the suburbs of Chennai alleged that they are not able to attend classes due to the lack of transportation. Some of them who tried to board on the ‘workmen specials’ suburban trains by showing their college identity card were denied entry.
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