Top higher education institutions including IITs believe vaccinating the students and staff against the coronavirus at the earliest is the way forward to ensure their safe return to the campuses. Most higher education institutions have been operating in a blended mode in view of the COVID-19 pandemic while a few IITs have limited students staying on campus at present.
“Vaccination seems to be the most immediate and critical thing to do for everyone to curb the spread of coronavirus. We, at IIT Guwahati, believe that our students, faculty, and staff should be given the vaccine to ensure the smooth reopening of the campus as the cases recede and for the safe return of students to campus to ensure uninterrupted learning," IIT Guwahati Director TG Sitharam told PTI. His views were echoed by IIT Madras Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi, who said, “If students who are on residential campuses get vaccinated, it will significantly reduce the risk of reopening hostels and start classes on campus".
According to sources, a few IIT directors had raised the request in a meeting with Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ last week, to expedite vaccination of their students to facilitate their return to the campus.
Siva Umapathy, Director, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Bhopal, said, “The institute being a residential campus proposes to bring back the students, who have received at least first dose of the vaccine. In this aspect, the institute would follow the guidelines issued by the government and would appreciate the support from the government for the vaccine availability, as needed".
The Education Ministry’s department of higher education had last month written to the Health Ministry requesting a special provision to vaccinate faculty, staff members and students of Centrally Funded Technical Institutions, including IITs, NITs, IIMs, IISc and others. The request was placed before the immunisation drive was allowed for those below the age of 45 years. The Health Ministry, however, had turned down the request then.
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