A health worker collects a sample from a woman in Bengaluru earlier in October.(File photo)
A health worker collects a sample from a woman in Bengaluru earlier in October.(File photo)

Karnataka colleges scramble to adhere to safety protocols ahead of reopening from Tuesday

Colleges have been instructed that beside an extensive sanitisation drive, students, staff and teachers should compulsorily carry Covid-19 negative reports which are less than 72 hours old
By Venkatesha Babu | Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
UPDATED ON NOV 16, 2020 04:30 PM IST

Colleges and higher education institutes in Karnataka, which are set to reopen from Tuesday, have been scrambling to ensure that they meet all the coronavirus disease (Covid-19)-related safety protocols prescribed by the government.

The colleges, which have been closed for the last eight months, have been instructed that beside an extensive sanitisation drive across the board, students, staff and teachers should compulsorily carry Covid-19 negative reports, which are less than 72 hours old before reopening these institutions.

The attendees need to compulsorily wear masks, use hand sanitisers and take other precautions in a bid to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19.

Students have been given the option of attending classes online or in person. All students seeking to attend classes in person need to get a letter of consent from their parents or guardians.

Also read | No lockdown in Delhi even as Covid-19 cases go up, says Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain

The laboratories have been forced to pool swab samples because a large number of students, staff and lecturers want Covid-19 negative reports, which are less than 72 hours old.

“A sudden spike in demand for Covid-19 tests of those wanting to attend colleges and higher education institutes coupled with the ongoing Diwali holidays has put an enormous pressure on the system because of an acute staff crunch,” said a state health department official requesting anonymity

Some of the private laboratories have expressed their dissatisfaction because of an inordinate delay in receiving pending payments for tests.

“I don’t want to jeopardise our chances of receiving pending payments. However, we won’t process swab samples sent by the state government unless our dues are cleared,” said the manager of a private laboratory, who did not want to be identified.

However, the official claimed that the “sums involved are small and will be paid in due course and no laboratory can refuse to conduct tests as the government can take legal action”.

The government will also reopen hostels for higher secondary students that are run by the social welfare department for backward classes and minorities.

All undergraduate, engineering and diploma colleges will reopen in the state from Tuesday.

Similarly, all medical, nursing and Ayush (Ayurveda, yoga & naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy) colleges will reopen from December 1.

Dr CN Ashwath Narayan, deputy chief minister, Karnataka, who is also in charge of higher education, had announced on Friday that pending dues of guest lecturers for the last five months would be paid at the earliest.

The state government hopes that the move will incentivise more lecturers to take classes in person.

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