FAQ: What Are the Latest UGC Guidelines on Reopening Colleges?

In order to maintain social distancing, not more than 50 percent of total students in any class will be allowed.

3 min read
Representational image.

From staggered reopening to a detailed sanitisation regime, the University Grants Commission on Thursday, 5 November, issued fresh guidelines for reopening up of college and university campuses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But will all students be allowed? how will social distancing norms be followed? will hostels be reopened as well?

What happens before reopening? who gives permission?

According to guidelines issued by the UGC, a campus can only reopen after the state or the central government has declared the area safe for educational institutions. Moreover, only those universities and colleges outside containment zones will be allowed to reopen.

Similarly, students and staff from containment zones will not be allowed in colleges and universities.

What social distancing and health measures will be followed?

  • Wearing of masks is compulsory at all places inside the campus.
  • In order to avoid overcrowding, colleges must set staggered entry and exit timings with limited strength for different programmes.
  • Social distancing markers must be put on the ground with a gap of six between between each marker.
  • Students and staff must be screened at all entry points for mask.
  • Frequently-touched surfaces such and knobs, elevator buttons, hand railings, chairs, benches and washroom fixtures must be sanitised.
  • The seat between two people must be kept vacant to maintain social distancing.

In what manner will colleges be reopened?

Colleges and higher educational institutes will be reopened in a graded manner in consultation with the respective state governments. Universities and colleges have been advised to reopen in phases so that they can easily adhere to social distancing measures.

In order to ensure that all measures are followed, administrative offices, research laboratories and libraries in colleges and universities could open first with limited students.

Who will be allowed to join first?

After offices, labs and libraries, guidelines issued by the UGC state that colleges can be reopened for students of all research programmes and post-graduate students in science & technology programmes may join as the number of such students is comparatively less and norms of physical distancing and preventive measures can be easily enforced.

  • In addition to this, if the head of the institution so decides, final-year students will also be allowed to come to colleges for academic and placement purposes.
  • However, in order to promote social distancing, not more than 50 percent of total students should be present at any point of time.

What about first and second-year students? will they be allowed?

For students who are not in the categories or academic years mentioned above, online or distance learning will be the preferred mode of teaching.

However, if required, students may visit their respective departments in a small number for consultation with the faculty members, after seeking prior appointments to avoid crowding, while maintaining physical distancing norms and other safety protocols.

Some students may opt not to attend classes and prefer to study online while staying at home. Institutions may provide online study material and access to e-resources to such students for teaching-learning.

Will students be quarantined in hostels?

Hostels may be re-opened only in cases where it is absolutely necessary, and students should be recalled in phases. Sharing of rooms will not be allowed and students symptomatic of COVID-19 will not be permitted to stay in hostels at any cost.

Students arriving in hostels from different locations will remain in quarantine and monitor their health for 14 days before they can be allowed to attend classes, even if they produce a COVID-19 negative certificate upon arrival.

There should be no crowding in hostel areas where students live in close proximity and share common facilities and utilities. Hence, their numbers need to be limited appropriately to avoid crowding.

Cleanliness is to be maintained in dining areas. Meals should be served in small batches, avoiding over-crowding. Take away options should be available for students and staff.

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