Final-year undergrad, post-grad students of DU allowed on campus from Sept 15
The Delhi University on Monday announced a phase-wise reopening of the varsity, and said all final-year undergraduate and postgraduate students, requiring lab work or practical classes, may return to campus from September 15.
The varsity has made it mandatory for all students returning to colleges and departments to be at least partially vaccinated. Department and college libraries have been allowed to reopen from Monday, DU officials said.
“Laboratory or practical classes and similar activities for final-year UG/PG students may be allowed in the offline mode from September 15 with maximum 50% of the working capacity of classroom/laboratory/hall room following the principle of rotation. Only a limited number of experiments/exercises/practicals may be selected that are considered essential or important in the semester,” the university order, released on Monday, said.
DU registrar Vikas Gupta, who issued the order, said teaching and non-teaching staff must be fully vaccinated at the earliest. “It is further advised that all students entering the college/department/university receive at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine. However, for hostel residents, although both doses of Covid-19 vaccine are essential but ensure that the residents have at least one dose of vaccine,” he said.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on August 30 issued the standard operating procedure (SOP) for reopening of schools, colleges, and other educational institutes, and emphasised on finalising readiness plans in consultation with parent groups, monitoring compliance of Covid-19 protocols, and according top priority to vaccination of teaching and non-teaching staff.
While theory classes for all UG and PG courses shall continue in the online mode until further notification, students are allowed to return for academic consultations and placement purposes, provided their numbers do not exceed the 50% seating capacity at any point, the DU said.
Attendance for all classes will not be mandatory, the university administration further said. The university has also asked libraries to ensure that they work out a schedule for issuing books or for students to visit the library to ensure that there is no overcrowding of such premises.
Varsity officials, including Gupta and acting vice-chancellor PC Joshi, held meetings with college principals to discuss the reopening plans.
Manoj Sinha, principal of Aryabhatta College and general secretary of DU principals’ association, said, “Holding online classes parallel to practical work will not be a challenge since we have a set-up in place. While students want to return to the campuses, parents are concerned about their safety due to the previous waves of Covid. It is a sensible step to continue online classes because we need to tread carefully.”
Sinha also said within the DDMA and University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines, colleges can also arrange for academic tutorials, if needed. “Although the teaching workload will increase, it will be manageable. We are enabling our classrooms so that teachers can use internet facilities in college to take online classes from our premises and conduct the lab work offline, as per a fixed timetable.”
Hardeep Kaur, a teacher of Zoology in Ramjas College, said, “It was difficult to manage offline and online classes when the in-person practicals resumed last year. I had to repeat one experiment six to seven times to ensure that physical distancing was maintained among students at all times. Students also need hands-on experience in conducting the experiments so that they build on their skills. However, the rising Covid-19 cases along with making these classes non-mandatory may lead to a low attendance.”