‘Why Are Colleges Opening Amid the Pandemic?’: UP’s MBBS Students
The students are worried about maintaining social distancing in hostels, classrooms and the mess.
Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
Video Producer: Zijah Sherwani
Illustrations: Kamran Akhter
Medical colleges in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh are set to reopen from 13 July for first year students, adding to our stress and anxiety as MBSS students across the state will be putting their health at risk.
Coronavirus cases are increasing each day and the government is asking everyone to stay at home and be safe. In amidst all this, medical colleges are resuming classes and holding exams amid a global pandemic. In such a situation, how can one prevent themselves from getting infected? We have been against the decision ever since our respective colleges notified us of offline class.
All students stand virus exposure, and for those living in confinement zones, there are increased safety and health issues. Why can’t we just attend online classes like the rest?
The decision to call us back has been made without thinking of these factors. Most importantly, it takes a toll on students mentally.
“We are being called to college from 13 July so that the syllabus can be completed and we can appear for exams, without even thinking about the mental stress our families are going through in this pandemic.”Student
Despite colleges issuing safety guidelines, one of the main concerns of the students is maintaining social distancing in hostels, classrooms and the mess.
“The biggest problem for us will be in the hostel, while using bathrooms and while going to eat....one washroom is shared by 14 to 15 people to shower in. People go in and out of the hostels daily.”Student
From mess workers to sweepers, teachers and even patients, all of them move around. The mess, labs, washrooms will also not be able to be completely sanitised on a daily basis, all this has increased the risk of exposure.
Shri Ram Murti Smarak Institute of Medical Sciences in Bareilly had issued a notice for the first year medical students stating that they have to report to the college campus by 5:00 pm on the day of their travel, adding that “beyond that they would have to report at 9:00 am and make their own arrangements of stay outside.”
Also, what about inter-state travel? All India Medical Students Association has also written a letter in this regard for zero contact transport facility.
On the other hand, Integral Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, among several other colleges, stated that those found to be a COVID-19 suspect in the screening will “tested for COVID-19 at their own expenses.”
‘Who Will Take the Responsibility?’
Upon the arrival of students in some colleges, there will be no mandatory COVID-19 screening even though the number of cases in the country has been reaching new highs every day. Asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are also a very real safety hazard.
The students who are reporting for classes also have to come prepared with the printed COVID-19 test result, else they will be sent back, TS Misra Medical college has noted.
The concern is that the colleges will not take responsibility upon the infection of a student during travel or their stay in the hospital. Besides, the treatment costs itself are phenomenally high.
“The biggest problem is that medical colleges are also COVID-centres. So what if a COVID patient arrives unannounced? What will the college authorities do then? If a student is infected, who will be responsible? Who will pay for the treatment?”Student
Hence, all that the students are asking for are answers from the government, and to rescind this decision after they have repeatedly made it clear that they do not want to put the teachers' and their health at risk.
(All ‘My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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