Students return to colleges; stringent protocols in place

Students returned to college campuses with stringent protocols in place across Puducherry on Wednesday after over nine months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ahead of the scheduled reopening, Y. Lakshminarayana Reddy, Director of Higher and Technical Education, had issued a circular to the principals of all colleges, directing them to strictly adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures.

The measures, included making available hand sanitisers and thermal scanning students at the point of entry. In case there were more than 60 students in a class, they should be divided into two groups and classes taken for six days a week. Colleges were also asked to ensure that the students maintained social distancing and wore masks on the campus and during classes.

While online classes had been progressing through the academic calendar, only since mid-December, colleges had partially reopened with final year students, including the undergraduate and postgraduate candidates and research scholars, attending classes in person.

With first-year students also turning up, in-person classes have resumed for students of all streams now, though a cap has been placed on the number of students visiting the institution on any given day. Classes, with over 60 students, were being split into two with each group attending college on alternate days, authorities at the Bharathidasan Government College for Women said.

Measures have been taken to follow the SOPs issued by the government and students are allowed in only after a temperature check at the entrance while seating has also been spaced apart in classrooms, they also said.

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