New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released new guidelines for the reopening of universities and colleges nationwide for gradually opening the lockdown enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the new guidelines, universities and colleges outside the containment zone can be opened in a graded manner after consulting with the respective State/UT Governments.
UGC has suggested a six-day week, smaller class-sizes to enable social distancing, however, teaching hours in a day may be extended, as per the institution's requirements.
The UGC suggested that a six-day schedule must be followed so that classes can be conducted in phases and the seating arrangement be made keeping in view the requirements of physical distancing. Universities and colleges are expected to reduce the class size and divide them into multiple sections to maintain physical distancing during the classes.
The new guidelines have asked the institutions to make sure that before reopening of any campus, the Central or the concerned State Government must ensure that the area is safe. The guideline, orders directions and instructions, issued by the Central and State Government concerned regarding safety and health in view of COVID-19 must be fully obeyed by the higher education institution.
Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Twitted, "It is a request to all educational institutions, students, parents, and all those associated with the education world to ensure compliance of these guidelines for the survival and bright future of themselves and others."
In addition to this, campuses must follow monitoring of disinfecting measures, screening and detecting the infected persons, safety and health conditions, containment measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
UGC allows students of all research programs and post-graduate students in science and technology programs to join the institution as the number of students studying at PG level is comparatively less. As per the decision of the head of the institution. Final year students may also be allowed to join for academic and placement purposes.
Institutions have to provide online study material and access to e-resources to students who prefer to study at home. Institutions are also requested to make online teaching-learning arrangements for international students.
"Hostels may be opened only in such cases where it is necessary while strictly observing the safety and health preventive measures. However, the sharing of rooms may not be allowed in hostels. Symptomatic students should not be permitted to stay in the hostels under any circumstances," read the statement.