The nation went under a lockdown and all the colleges nationwide were closed down for physical mode of education from March 2020 in the face of coronavirus. Now, as the calls for reopening of colleges have gained increasing momentum, the UGC (University Grants Commission) has released an updated version of its guidelines for reopening of colleges.
The document incorporated some of the generic guidelines like social distancing. According to the UGC, students will come in a batch of 50% at a time and all the outside college activities will be fully restricted. In addition to following the physical distance, the colleges are also expected to ensure that all the faculty members and students wear masks all the time and the campus remains disinfected and hygiene is maintained every day.
Further to the guidelines, it has been instructed to follow all the orders issued by Central and State governments regarding the safety and health keeping in mind of Covid-19. Moreover, it is ordered that the respective state governments have to declare their college area safe for re-entry of students. The college that falls in the containment zones is not allowed to open the campus and the students, faculty members and staff from the containment zone will not be allowed to attend. Besides, alternative plans should be ready, in case the virus spreads again.
Reading the next guidelines, there is the limitation of attendance of students. The students of research programmes, post graduation and graduation final year students will be encouraged for physical education but however, only 50% of students will be allowed at a point of time. The attendance of students in physical mode still stands as per convenience of the students. For those students who opted for online education, the colleges and universities must provide them with e-sources and online study material. Same arrangement must be made for international students. Teachers and students must be equipped with online machine-learning practices.
Cultural activities like society practices and extracurricular activities like sports where physical distancing are not feasible must be strictly prohibited. No physical meetups are allowed inside the campus.
The UGC guidelines further laid emphasis on mental health of the students. To ensure that the campuses are stress-free, the colleges and universities must mandate a counselor for regular visits. The UGC also has asked the institutions to set up helplines for mental health, psychological concerns, and the wellbeing of the students on the campus.