Monday, 18 October 2021

Colleges to reopen in Maharashtra from 20 October

Colleges to reopen in Maharashtra from 20 October

With the sustained decline in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the state, the Maharashtra government announced that colleges would reopen from 20 October. However, the government order stated that physical classes would reopen only for students who have received both dosages of the vaccine against Covid.

Ahead of the month, the state government reopened schools in rural and urban areas. 5 to 12 classes started from 4 October in rural areas, while 8 to 12 classes were reopening in urban areas.

Maharashtra's higher and technical education minister, Uday Samant, said

"From a past week, I was saying that the time has come for colleges to reopen. Today, we discussed the topic with the CM, deputy CM and the senior officials and decided to reopen colleges from 20 October. The colleges that come under Technical Education department and the Higher , include UGC, PG, engineering colleges, etc. will reopen from 20 October,"

On Wednesday, the government's government resolution (GR) stated that colleges and universities must set up vaccination camps for students.

Samant said.

"The students must be have taken two dosages and those should be asked to attend classes in prior basis. If the student are not vaccinated then universities and colleges must take a drive to set up a vaccination camp for students in the campus, after discussion with the local authorities. Such instructions have been given to all college and universities managements,"

The minister said that the department would send a plan to the chief secretary to allow college students in Mumbai to travel by local train. Presently, only full-vaccinated citizens are permitted to use Mumbai suburban local train services.

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Samant added that the teaching and non-teaching staff in the universities and colleges must be fully vaccinated. At the same time, they were starting physical classes in the universities and colleges with the local district administration to create it with 50% capacity or more. He further appealed to guardians, parents, and students, including fully vaccinated ones, to ensure all precautions while attending college.

Some districts in Maharashtra continue to have more Covid-19 cases than other parts. For such communities, the universities and college management can reopen, depending on the situation in conjunction with the local district administration.

The minister said.

"Nobody knows that if and when the third wave of Covid infections will come. If it happens, universities and colleges must coordinate with the local administration to prepare a dedicated guideline for the district. Some districts currently have a high number of cases... for example Sindhudurg, Satara, Ahmednagar still have a high number of cases. Such districts can discuss with the local administration and take a decision [on reopening colleges],"

The universities or colleges are also mandated to set up online classes for those students who cannot attend the lectures. Some students may be staying back in their villages since hostels are still not operational. They can attend classes online, the minister said. He said,

"We are planning to reopen hostels in a graded manner. The department will survey the hostels and they will be reopened gradually."

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