Universities in Tirupati turn abuzz as ‘excited’ students land on campuses

As the government eased the norms for physical attendance, offline mode of education is back again for most students, who are however required to follow the guidelines to keep the virus at bay.

The universities in Tirupati bubbled with life this week, with students slowly, yet steadily, arriving into their respective campuses, after remaining deserted for a long time due to the lockdown necessitated by COVID-19. As the government eased the norms for physical attendance, offline mode of education is back again for most students, who are however required to follow the guidelines on wearing masks, washing hands often with sanitiser and maintaining physical distance to keep the virus at bay.

Around 60-75% of students at Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS University) have reached the campus. The priority, however, is to allow only those whose presence is absolutely necessary. “We are allowing into the campus only those having practical sessions or examinations. The online format continues for those having theory classes”, SVIMS Director and Vice-Chancellor B. Vengamma told The Hindu. Though MBBS students have arrived at Sri Padmavathi Medical College for Women (SPMCW), the SVIMS College of Physiotherapy and College of Nursing are still on online mode. Shortage of hostel space is another handicap. “We are accommodating only two inmates in a room against the five in the past to ensure social distance, which has a telling effect on space”, Dr. Vengamma explained.

More than 900 students have arrived at Sri Padmavathi Mahila Viswa Vidyalayam (SPMVV) campus, which not only reflects their eagerness for academics, but also the compulsion to get back to the ‘good old days’ on campus. The varsity authorities have made all arrangements to minimise the level of exposure. “We have segregated the students batch-wise and are conducting classes on the odd-even pattern. With this, students of first batch (first and third semesters) and the second batch (second and fourth semesters) will attend on alternate days”, says SPMVV Registrar D.M. Mamatha. The priority is to complete the syllabus for the final year students, who will have to leave the campus on time to pursue their further ambitions, be it higher education or employment, Prof. Mamatha added.

Breaking away from the confines of their home, the excited first year students had fun and frolic at the ice-breaking session conducted by SPMVV Department of Biosciences and Sericulture. Heaving a sigh of relief from the ‘piled-up frustration’ over the protracted lockdown period, some students called it a ‘red-lettered day’, while some sang film songs to pep up the mood before the truncated academic schedule gets a delayed start in a couple of days.

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