Published: 01st December 2020
TN colleges want government to restore classrooms to pre-COVID state for students' safety
While extending the lockdown until the end of the year, the Chief Minister has also directed the hostels to open their doors, to help students resume their normal schedule
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s announcement of resuming physical classes for students of medical colleges and final-year undergraduate students of arts and science has sent the official machinery into overdrive to restore classrooms to their original form.
While extending the lockdown until the end of the year, the Chief Minister has also directed the hostels to open their doors, to help students resume their normal schedule. The government had already announced that physical classes would resume for research students and final-year students of postgraduate courses in science and technology courses on December 2. Since most government colleges in the State had been converted into quarantine centres during the early phase of the lockdown, officials have now begun focusing on removing beds and other furniture that had been used for patients.
While welcoming the decision to reopen the colleges, the principal of art and science college in Tiruvarur said the government should ensure that classrooms are returned to the colleges the way they were handed over, to ensure students’ safety.
“Disinfection process should be done across the campus, from the gate to the toilets. Even then, the virus is capable of staying alive for a few days,” he said. Even as most Covid-19 patients have recovered and left many of the colleges, the beds and the facilities arranged for isolation continue to remain on campuses. Further, the government, in its detailed SOP for the functioning of hostels, said only one student can stay in a room. “The protocol has to be removed before other classes are allowed as hostels will not have the capacity to handle all students while allotting a separate room for each student,” said the principal of a government-aided college in Chennai.
The UGC, earlier this month, had released guidelines advising higher education institutions located outside containment zones to reopen in phases, starting first with research, masters and final-year undergraduate students. However, the number of students attending classes on campus at a given time should not be more than half the total student strength, the guidelines said.
Apart from the standard precautions of regular disinfection of premises and screening of teachers and students on campus, the UGC also suggested that institutions extend teaching hours and follow a six-day schedule. Attendance for students will be voluntary. Universities have been asked to continue online classes for students who wish to study remotely.