Back to college: Here's everything you need to know before heading back to class

Here's a list of the guidelines, safety measures that every institute, faculty members, employees, students and visitors have to strictly follow at all times 
Image for representational purpose only
Image for representational purpose only

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released the guidelines for reopening universities and colleges, which have been shut since March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These guidelines have also been vetted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Education. All the educational institutes across the country have to adopt these guidelines and take necessary steps to implement them before they re-open for full-fledged academic activities.

Here's a list of the guidelines, safety measures that every institute, faculty members, employees, students and visitors have to strictly follow at all times.
- Physical distance of at least six feet to be followed at all times wherever feasible
- Use of face masks will be mandatory
- Use of hand sanitisers and frequent handwashing is advised
- Respiratory etiquettes like covering ones nose and mouth while coughing, sneezing to be practiced
- Self-monitoring of health and reporting any kind of discomfort at the earliest is of utmost importance
- Spitting is strictly prohibited
- Installation of Aarogya Setu app shall be advised

The UGC has also specified safety measures that should be kept in mind at all times by the institutes during working hours, at entry and exit points of campuses and inside the campus. Here are the most salient points that are required to be kept in mind before re-opening of campuses:
- Arrangement for thermal scanners, sanitisers, face masks should be made available at every entry/exit point on campus
- Crowding must be avoided, to ensure queue management markings must be made on the floor
- Those having symptoms should not be allowed to enter the campus
- Proper and regular sanitisation of classrooms, labs, common spaces, parking areas etc are to be done
- At least one seat should be left vacant between two seats with proper markings inside classrooms
- Cultural activities, meetings to be avoided however, sports and extra-curricular may be allowed where physical distancing is feasible
- Hostels to be opened only in such cases wherever necessary with strict safety measures
- Regular monitoring of health of its students, faculty and staff should be necessary

In order to reassure students and avoid any kind of stress or panic in the prevailing situation, the UGC has also asked institutes to set up helplines for mental health, psychological concerns and well-being of students and faculty. The guidelines have also emphasised the need for sensitisation programmes to make students, teachers and staff aware about the Coronavirus, its effects, prevention etc on campuses. Finally, it stated that the state and central governments should keep regular contact with the institutions to gain information regarding the condition on campuses and also call online meetings with the head of the institutes whenever deemed fit.

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