Using all entry and exit gates, staggered lunch breaks, adequate thermal scanners, and sanitisation of premises are some of the guidelines laid down by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) for reopening of schools and higher educational institutions. The DDMA has said the head of the institute has to ensure that all staffers are vaccinated. Thorough sanitisation should be carried out in libraries and college premises and there should be adequate availability of thermal scanners, hand sanitisers and soaps, it said.
It advised that a time table according to the capacity/occupancy level of labs and classrooms should be prepared and suggested that the schedule may be staggered to avoid crowding in classrooms. It also advised that all exit and entry gates be used to avoid crowding and there should be a gap of an hour between the exit of last group of students of morning shift and entry of first group of students of evening shift.
According to the standard operating procedures, lunch breaks may be staggered to avoid crowding and be held in an open area while campus counselling and guidance should be provided to students to adjust to the new normal. Teachers should speak to students and mentally prepare them for teaching and learning activities along with providing emotional support. With the DDMA giving a go-ahead to reopening of higher educational institutions, Delhi University vice-chancellor Yogesh Singh said that the varsity will open in a few days and they will formulate a strategy in this regard. An official from Jamia Millia Islamia said they will wait for the UGC guidelines and then discuss about reopening the campus in their executive council meeting.
The Delhi government-run Ambedkar University and Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU) will abide by the guidelines, officials said. "We will comply with the guidelines of the government. We have begun the preparations and started sanitising the campus. Once we get the detailed order, we will issue guidelines for students," said an official from the Ambedkar University. GGSIPU vice-chancellor Dr Mahesh Verma said they will abide by the DDMA guidelines and are geared up to open campus.
The DU vice-chancellor said they will give a few days'' time to their students to return to campus. "If the DDMA allows 100 per cent seating capacity, we will definitely reopen the campus. But we will give a few days’ time to our students, say 10 days, for returning to campus since a majority of students are from other states. We will formulate our own strategy," he said. He said that if the DDMA is allowing 100 per cent capacity, it means that hostel allotment would also be done considering the situation is normal. Earlier, the university was mulling the strategy of one room one student in view of the restrictions applicable.
Will the academic council meeting on February 9 see a discussion on reopening of DU? "The reopening of campus is purely an administrative decision and the academic council has nothing to do with it. But if any member will like to discuss it, we are open for discussion," he said. Meanwhile, the Students' Federation of India (SFI) called for a protest outside the VC office on February 7 to demand immediate reopening of Delhi University campus in the light of the DDMA guidelines that were released on Friday.
"Earlier, talks were held with the administration, they always stressed that the universities can't be opened up because of the guidelines of DDMA," said Abhishek Kumar, co-convenor, SFI Delhi University. With the latest DDMA guidelines, he said they hope the Delhi University will be taking concrete steps towards reopening within seven days. The university had resumed laboratory classes for final year undergraduate and postgraduate students from September 16 but the attendance had been thin. The university had suspended them once the cases started increasing in Delhi.
The DDMA decided to reopen higher education institutions and coaching centres along with schools for classes 9-12 from February 7, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said. The deputy chief minister, who also holds the education portfolio, said institutions of higher education and coaching institutes will also be permitted to open from Monday. "However, colleges will be discouraged to hold online classes and should start offline teaching," he said.
With PTI Inputs