Mumbai University reopens today - October 20 - after over a year of being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students attending the physical classes, however, will not be experiencing the college life they knew before. The higher education institutes will be following strict COVID-19 protocol and public gatherings including in canteens and cafeterias will be banned.
After the Maharashtra government, last week announced the reopening of colleges on October 20, Mumbai University has released a detailed list of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be followed by its affiliated colleges. Mumbai University has a total of 837 affiliated colleges in Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Palghar, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.
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While the Uddhav Thackeray-led government, earlier this month, had allowed resumption of physical classes in degree colleges, it also mentioned that the final decision will rest with individual universities and their respective local bodies.
As per reports, the SOPs are divided into three categories. The first is for college authorities and students, the second is to be followed by the staff of colleges, and the third entails steps to be taken by college authorities on finding Covid-19 cases/symptoms.
Key points from the SOPs
— During classes, students will sit in a way that leaves alternate benches vacant, and the college authorities can segregate students into batches in order to follow Covid-19 protocols. The gap between the lecturer and the first benches should be at least 6-8 feet.
— All students and staff must wear a face mask at all times. College authorities should take every measure possible to ensure adherence to Covid-19 protocols like social distancing, wearing of face masks, and regular sanitisation.
— While offline classes are resuming, college canteens, cafeterias will remain shut. Moreover, stalls within or outside colleges should also not function. The same applies to any stationery or other shops on campus premises.
— Another important point in the SOPs is that only those colleges, universities, educational institutions are allowed to reopen where the local authorities have not imposed any containment restrictions.
— The vaccination record of students, staff and teachers will be with respective college principals who will keep copies of vaccination certificates.
— Students who live in containment zones have been banned from taking offline classes to limit the spread of Covid-19.
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