Colleges, Universities in Valley To Reopen From Feb 15

  Empty class rooms at Amar Singh College in Srinagar | KO file photo: Abid Bhat

Govt Issues Covid-19 Guidelines To Resume Academic Activities

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir Government on Thursday announced reopening of colleges and Universities in Jammu division from February 1 and in Kashmir Valley from February 15 while issuing a set of Covid-19 guidelines for the higher education institutions to resume academic activities.

The higher education institutions in summer zone areas of Jammu division will re-open from February 01, an official spokesperson said here Thursday, adding while as in Kashmir Valley and winter zone areas of Jammu, the institutions will open on 15th February after winter vacations.

He said that the order issued here by the Higher Education Department has urged the institutions, staff and students alike to follow all Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in letter and spirit, in addition to suggestions of District Disaster Management Authorities and SOPs for safety and health protocol issued by the UGC.

According to the guidelines for the ownership of the initiative, the official spokesperson said, an Advisory Committee needs to be framed by the Registrar/Principal of the University/College including members from Municipal Bodies, Health and few parents for monitoring and support of the Universities/ Colleges.

“The guidelines asked to avoid the risk of transmission, the students, faculty and staff should be screened and symptomatic ones be advised to get clinically assessed before allowing them entry into the campus. In this regard, adequate arrangements of thermal scanners, sanitizers, face masks should be made available at all entry and exit points including the reception area,” he said.

He added that the order also directs that all students, Professors and other staff should wear face masks compulsorily and have their own sanitizer also with them.

“Besides, the Students shall sit almost 2 meters apart from each other. In case of non-availability of such space, staggered schedule/shift timings and students rotation can be an option to be devised by Registrar/Principal concerned, according to the guidelines issued as per UGC norms,” he said.

The order, as per the official spokesperson added that sufficient hand washing points with proper soap should be made available for the students and Staff at suitable locations within the premises of HEIs.

“Everybody should wash their hands frequently to maintain proper physical distance. Safe water, cleaning supplies and sufficient segregated toilets shall be kept operational,” he said.

“The guidelines stated that touching of surfaces by the students, Professors and other staff members in and around the area of college should be cautioned against and prohibited. Disinfecting, sanitizing and cleaning the learning spaces, laboratories to be ensured as per protocol in all the Institutions,” he added.

The order, as per the official spokesperson also said that while coming and leaving colleges, the students and staff should maintain physical distance of at least one meter from each other and no student or staff member should breach this distance rule either during the colleges/universities or while coming or leaving the institute.

“In all cases gathering or grouping should be avoided and everybody should come and leave college/university individually,” he said.

In addition to above advisories, the guidelines, as per the official spokesperson said that continuous monitoring of the students and faculty to be ensured and also the Isolation facilities shall be put in place in the campuses for symptomatic persons and quarantine facilities for those who were in contact with the positive tested persons and Rapid tests for Covid 19 be got conducted for such cases.

“Besides, the guidelines called for avoiding all such programmes and extracurricular activities where physical distancing is not possible. Universities/Colleges should ensure there is space to temporarily separate sick students and staff without creating stigma. Share procedures with staff, parents and students, including advising all sick students and staff to remain home,” the official spokesperson said, adding “Colleges/Universities authorities should limit any non essential visitors, volunteers and activities involving external groups in the Colleges/Universities,”

About the reopening of hostels, the official spokesperson said that the same may be opened only in such cases where it is necessary while strictly observing the safety and health preventive measures as per instructions of the University Grants Commission.

“Director Colleges/Registrars of all Universities and Nodal Principals Jammu/Kashmir shall strengthen counseling facilities for 24×7 for needy students and faculty,” he added.

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