Published: 31st July 2020
With COVID cases rising on campus, IISc researchers and parents are wondering if the institute jumped the gun
Around 44 people on the IISc campus have tested positive for COVID. The institute called its students back to campus in June
Until last month, Bengaluru was quite different from all the other big metros in the country. While the number of COVID cases soared in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, the capital of Karnataka was looked up to for the way it brilliantly managed the pandemic. It was around the same time that IISc Bangalore, one of the premier institutes in the country started calling its final year students back to campus.
The institute had claimed to have made enough precautions to ensure that students quarantine themselves and the campus remains COVID-free. However, soon students started testing positive for the virus. If sources are to be believed, around 44 people on campus, including students, faculty and staff have tested positive until now, much to the worry of students and their parents. At the same time, the COVID cases in Bengaluru too have been rising steadily.
"What was the point of calling the students back to the institute?" asks Asha*, a parent of a final year PhD scholar. Asha's daughter is currently under quarantine, after another student who stays in the same hostel floor as hers tested positive. "However, the institute hasn't done much. Even though the COVID positive students were shifted to the institute guesthouse, all the students on quarantine have no way to isolate themselves. All of them use the same restrooms too. Also, there is no screening for the cleaning staff who come to the hostel" claims Asha.
She added that her daughter's faculty are unresponsive on if she could go back home. "My daughter's lab is sealed and she can't go there. In that case, what is the point of staying on campus? If she's home, I could have taken care of my child," she said. Another PhD scholar too criticised the institute's decision of calling its students back to campus quite early. "This was quite foolish of them. It let all the previous efforts of IISc go in vain," he added. "It looks like the COVID peak is coming to Bengaluru only now, when the curve is bending in other big cities," he added.
An IISc spokesperson told us that the institute is coming up with a detailed statement on the issue on Monday. "However, we are regularly in touch with all the parents and are taking measures to make sure that students stay safe," he says.