Published: 07th March 2021
Students can step out with permission, PhD students have the option to become day scholars: IIT Madras
The institute said that one must be sensitive towards the pandemic and precautionary measures are essential to prevent its spread
Following a COVID outbreak and a lockdown, the research scholars in IIT Madras now have the 'freedom to interact in the hostel and academic zone without any restrictions, according to the institute spokesperson. "However, everyone is constantly reminded about the importance of adhering to safety precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19," they say. Previously, EdexLive had written the account of a researcher, who told us that he felt 'imprisoned' in the institute with the lockdown in place. Responding to this, the institute says that PhD students have the freedom to become ‘day scholars’ at any time by taking accommodation outside of campus. "PhD scholars not staying in the hostel are provided with a House Rent Allowance by the Institute. Many scholars are availing this option," it said.
The institute also said that the research scholars living in the IIT Madras hostels are now allowed to step out of the campus 'based on their essential needs/request', but with the institute's permission. At the same time, they say that it is necessary to maintain a 'bio-bubble to the maximum extent to avoid a recurrence of the COVID outbreak. In December, more than 200 people residing in the IIT had tested positive for COVID.
While the institute was locked down following the incident, according to the statement, restrictions were eased after December 31."Research scholars have been requested to step out of the campus only for essential activities. They have been informed that the creation of big bubble and precautions are crucial to keeping the activities going without a second outbreak. A procedure has been laid out to obtain permission to go out of the campus for some essential work," it says.
From the beginning of March, the IIT has allowed simultaneous access to the labs to both day scholars and hostellers, if they are not going to the same lab. "Again, the precautions are being taken to ensure that there is no repeat outbreak in the hostels leading to another extended containment declaration in the hostel zone," the IIT said.
While researchers had complained about the hiked price of food on campus, post lockdown, the institute said that the menu and corresponding prices have always been fixed by a Mess Management committee consisting primarily of students. "Students decide the tradeoffs between items and cost," it said, adding, "The messes are now operating with limited capacity and the fixed costs are therefore higher than when all 8000 students are on campus."
It further says, "The Institute sincerely wants our research scholars to grow and has no reason to curtail their growth. However, as you are aware, we all must be sensitive towards the pandemic and precautionary measures are essential to prevent its spread."