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IIT-D removes attendance clause, extend deadlines after 22% respondents of survey test positive for Covid

New Delhi: Officials at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) announced several relaxations, including of deadlines and attendance norms, after 22% respondents of an internal online survey said they tested positive for the coronavirus disease between March and April
PUBLISHED ON APR 29, 2021 11:55 PM IST

New Delhi: Officials at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) announced several relaxations, including of deadlines and attendance norms, after 22% respondents of an internal online survey said they tested positive for the coronavirus disease between March and April.

More than a tenth of students surveyed said they were considering withdrawing from the ongoing semester due to the stress caused by the pandemic and associated personal grievances, while over 40% said they wanted the semester halted for a while.

Of the 3,910 students who participated the survey, which was conducted between Sunday and Tuesday, 857 said they contracted the infection since March, while 61% said a family member, or someone close to them, tested positive in the same period.

HT has seen a copy of the survey report.

The respondents included students enrolled in undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes, as well as those pursuing diplomas and dual degree courses at the institute.

The institute currently has over 10,000 students enrolled across courses.

After the survey’s results were analysed, the college administration decided on several relaxations for students for the ongoing semester, including exempting attendance from its evaluation policy, and extending deadlines for assignments. The decision was approved by the IIT-D’s senate, the institute’s highest decision-making body, during a meeting on Wednesday.

To be sure, not all the students tested positive for Covid-19 on campus. Most students who took the survey were at home. The campus has been closed for physical classes since March.

Students were allowed to resume research and laboratory work with Covid-19 guidelines as laid down by a University Grants Commission (UGC) directive last November. Earlier this month, the administration advised all students who had returned to the campus to leave after a sharp rise in Delhi’s Covid trajectory.

On April 18, the IIT-D administration said at least 30 students on campus tested positive in the previous 30 days.

The survey revealed that 11% of the students were considering withdrawing from the ongoing semester. About 43%, or 1,688 students, said they wanted the current semester to be put on hold for a few weeks. Though the administration did not halt the semester, it has decided to extend deadlines for any student adversely affected by the pandemic. Students ill for more than four weeks will also be considered for these relaxations, officials said.

Shantanu Roy, the institute’s dean of academics, said, “The senate did not think halting the semester was a solution, since we are towards its very end. It decided to give relaxation to students directly or indirectly affected by the pandemic. They can take the exams whenever it will be possible for them.”

Several students continued to demand that the semester be halted by a few weeks for everyone. “It looks like the administration doesn’t trust students even after conducting a survey. They think all the stories of students suffering are cooked up,” said an undergraduate student, who wished not to be named.

The institute also decided to give students a week off, from May 1-7, before the online exams begin on May 9.

“Normally in the regular time, we ask for documents like medical reports and test reports in case students decide to not take an exam due to a medical reason. However, during the current situation, IIT-D has decided not to ask for any such document immediately. They can also decide to take exams later, whenever it is possible for them,” Roy added.

The senate also recommended a six-month extension for PhD scholars to finish their research.

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