Unraveling the Campus Reopening process: Knowing our Counterparts

Unraveling the Campus Reopening process: Knowing our Counterparts

As PDFs gradually replaced books and computer screens replaced classrooms, the education system has evolved. However, it has its downsides. As students and teachers became more familiar with the new system, various issues have emerged one by one. The most pressing concern was the students' mental health, which had deteriorated dramatically; being confined behind four walls was the polar opposite of what they had imagined college to be. This is the first occasion in Indian educational establishment history that a new academic year has begun with no students on campus.

However, several universities are taking significant steps to assure learning continuity and minor theoretical loss by utilising the hybrid education approach. Interested students can return to college with a valid guardian agreement, a negative PCR test, and at least one dose vaccine during this procedure. Lectures and quizzes will be delivered in both online and offline formats. Modes of instruction will be available to students based on their accessibility.

With this article, Team Monday Morning presents an all-inclusive study of the numerous approaches used by the country's foremost educational institutions to recommence their students to campus. Let's take a look at how various institutions have modified their processes for the more significant benefit.

IIT Bombay

After a long pause of more than 20 months, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay will open its gates to students in December: thousands of students will travel back after three semesters of online education. Those enrolled in 2020 will see their campus for the first time, not as freshers but as sophomores. The students have already missed one year of their campus life due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Director Prof. S. Sudarshan shared,  

“We have written to all second and third-year students that we are happy to have them back in December.” He also shared the students’ reactions and said that they are quite happy to return to campus.

Meanwhile, final-year students were granted permission to return to campus two months ago. While some have already returned, others will be back by December before classes begin on 3 January. The postgraduate students and PhD students have returned except those in their first year to avoid overcrowding in hostels and labs. The decision to open the campus for all was taken in a recent senate meeting.

Recently, the institute instructed all the students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated at the earliest after five new Covid-19 cases were recorded on campus. Following the state government's orders, the institute will collect vaccination certificates from all staff and students. Those who are not vaccinated yet will be required to go through rapid antigen tests at regular intervals to curb the spread of the pandemic and maintain safety protocols.

IIT Delhi

When asked about college reopening IIT Delhi Director V Rampgopal Rao said at a press conference,

By November, we will have the first-year students attending in-person classes, and by January 2022, we expect to go back to the standard teaching mode, of course following all the precautions. A cap on 50 per cent occupancy in classrooms will continue at all times. 

The onboarding of students into hostels will be graded to ensure compliance with all safety measures and protocols. Dean Academics Prof. Shantanu Roy said,

Over a period of time, if things remain well, we expect the DDMA (Delhi Disaster Management Authority) order to offer further relaxation. We will then start moving to actual classrooms. 

Exams might be held offline with 50% occupancy, but that is under discussion as of now. 

IIT BHUBANESWAR

About 40% of the students of IIT Bhubaneswar are now on campus, and the students present on campus are attending classes in Hybrid Mode. Those who are physically present in the class can, as usual, attend a lecture and interact, while those who are away can participate remotely in virtual mode accessing the live stream of the lecture.

On the 20th of the last month, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon'ble Minister of Education, inaugurated the Pushpagiri Lecture Hall Complex. The addition of the complex has facilitated the institute to run classes distributing the students so that each classroom has less than half the strength and full social distancing followed. The institute could quickly equip the complex to facilitate running lectures in Hybrid mode.

Speaking on the initiative, Director Prof. Raja Kumar said,

“For those students who are attending the lectures in person, these are like any modern lecture halls with facilities for multimedia projection, document camera, power point presentations and use of other gadgets like a tablet. Now in order to facilitate live streaming of the lecture, the board work and the faculty member giving the lecture including the interaction, video and audio capturing and streaming facility is used. This will facilitate streaming of the lecture live to a remote student including on an interactive or one way streaming session. We use MS Teams running on a laptop for the same. A faculty member can also interact with a remote student in the streaming session. On top of this, the faculty members are encouraged to use own innovative methods over and above this basic mechanism”.

A large class is split into 2/3 groups occupying different halls. A faculty member is made to give a lecture physically in the lobby of one group, and the same is replicated live into the other groups. A faculty member divides their physical presence taking turns across the 2/3 groups for fairness. In the recently arrived batch of nearly 480 students, about 95% have gotten vaccinated at least with one dose. The institute will be arranging the 2nd dose vaccination for them (so far, the institute has organized the 13th vaccination drive).

NIT Raipur

The institute will be reopened for the UG and PG courses from January 2022 for offline classes. The classes will be conducted in the hybrid mode because of the continued threat of COVID. Only one-third of the students will be attending classes offline. The same lecture shall be made available to the remaining students at a given moment. 

NIT Surathkal 

UG/PG/Ph.D. Students who have taken 2 doses of vaccination and can produce a Vaccination Certificate have been permitted to come to the NITK campus. They must make an RTPCR test report (should be negative) taken within 72 hours of their reporting to the campus.
Everyone should wear a face mask and should follow the physical distancing norm of 6 feet between individuals in all public places inside the campus
. They must sanitize their hands periodically by washing with soap and water or rubbing with alcohol-based sanitisers. Government regulations stipulate the use of the Aarogya Setu App on mobile phones. Before entering into the Department or any other office. Thermal scanning is essential. Avoid any gathering at large numbers to be avoided.

NIT Bhopal 

The students of B.Tech (4th year), B.Plan (4th year), B.Arch (5th year) will be going back to campus starting from 6th December 2021. After completing their quarantine as per the norms, they will attend the practical classes offline mode from 13th December 2021. Students must have completed their COVID protection vaccine as per the government norms. The students who have suffered from COVID must be vaccinated at least once to attend the campus classes.

Where do we stand?

NIT Rourkela, initially adamant about holding the examinations offline, opened its doors to final-year students, but a pandemic outbreak on school grounds prompted a demand for explanations and protests. Click here to learn more about the problem. Thus the students returned home with a somewhat disheartened heart. After great deliberation and several senate sessions, the Institute decided to bring back overseas students while adhering to the appropriate requirements. Students who had filled out the form indicating their readiness to return to campus received an email of return to campus.

 

The remaining international students will return in December. Students were only permitted on campus after obtaining at least one dose of vaccine and a negative PCR report, which was verified at the gate when they arrived. They were to be quarantined for seven days before being transferred to their respective hostels. During the quarantine period, the students were not permitted to leave the hostel premises. After their quarantine time expires, individuals must undergo another test, and only if they are confirmed Covid negative are they allowed to purchase necessities and relocate to their allotted hostels.

According to a notification issued by the institute a few days ago, the PhD and PG students will gradually welcome fourth-year students. Fourth-year students are summoned to campus in three stages from December 12 to December 14, with similar instructions. The stages have been separated into their respective branches.

Here's what interim director, Prof. Simanchalo Panigrahi  had to say about the imminent campus reopening:

We are calling back the final year students in December. I have made a committee to explore the possibility of calling other students, i.e. the pre-final years or sophomores, so I have also requested that the committee give a report. Since one of the hostels has to be spared for quarantine, we would have called all the students together if there had been no quarantine. We have also made a medical advisory committee because the members of the committee are the right ones to decide whether quarantine is needed or not and if needed for whom. If the committee can give us guidelines that the students from Odisha need not quarantine and the students from other States or risky zones need to be quarantined, in that case, we can accommodate a vast no. of students at once. We have also requested the medical advisory committee if it is possible to reduce the current 7-day quarantine to 4-day quarantine; in that case, we would be a little comfortable. We are also planning to go for a hybrid mode with both online and offline processes, but the end sem exams and practicals would be conducted physically from the coming spring semester. Those who opt for the hybrid medium would be called ten days before the end sem, and they have to complete their practicals and stay ten days after the theory exams for the practical exams.

THE DENOUEMENT 

The COVID-19 epidemic has brought life to a halt all across the globe, and the students are caught in the crossfire. Institutions around the country have begun to take significant steps to get their students back to campus, consequently adhering to all safety regulations. Students have observed a fantastic transformation in their college lives and have embraced the new normal. However, we can argue that colleges have discovered a way to effectively handle the situation by studying and developing new techniques of imparting information in every setting.

Team MM accolades the efforts of the institutes and expresses its gratitude to all the teaching, non-teaching staff and the students for their dedication and hard work in these testing times.

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