MU colleges in Mumbai will stay online till February 22
Two days before colleges were scheduled to reopen, the University of Mumbai (MU) on Saturday released a circular informing its affiliated colleges to continue online classes till February 22. MU in its latest circular said, “Based on our discussion with BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) officials, it is being clarified that colleges should not reopen for physical classes before February 22.”
University officials said another circular will be thereafter released with confirmation from civic authorities to inform colleges about the reopening protocols. MU’s circular follows a letter by BMC denying MU’s request to reopen colleges from Monday.
“We had a meeting with BMC officials on Friday and they shared their concerns. As trains services resumed for all citizens from February 1, BMC wants to first study if the restarting of locals for general public made any difference to the Covid-19 case count,” said Baliram Gaikwad, in-charge registrar, MU. He added that BMC has therefore asked to postpone college reopening by another week until further clarification.
In February first week, state minister for higher and technical education Uday Samant announced the decision to reopen colleges from February 15 with 50% attendance on campus. On February 5, a circular by the university stated that the reopening of institutes will depend on the final call taken by the local civic authorities.
“We’ve been working on sanitisation of the college for a while now and are ready to bring students back but not before we get an official word. As at least 30% of our students reside outside Mumbai (region), we need to be very sure before calling them back to the city,” said Ashok Wadia, principal of Jai Hind College, Churchgate. He added that contradictory circulars from different authorities are not helping the students who are already anxious. “We will wait for an official word on reopening before announcing about it,” he said.
A senior BMC official said the decision on reopening colleges will entirely depend on Covid-19 cases recorded in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) over the next one week. “We have to ensure that restarting of locals for all does not bring a spike in cases. Only after that can we allow reopening of colleges. Students, too, would have to travel by train, and we need to take all necessary precautions before allowing colleges to reopen,” said the official.
Meanwhile, MU-affiliated colleges in Raigad and Palghar will begin physical classes from Monday.
“Civic bodies in Raigad and Palghar have given the go-ahead for colleges to reopen. The civic body in Mumbai is being cautious, but we agree with their decision,” said a senior official from the University.