After the partial reopening of schools and colleges, the Gujarat government on Thursday declared to reopen the first year of colleges from February 8 along with hostel accommodation for students.
On January 11, classes for postgraduate, medical, and paramedical courses along with the final year of undergraduate courses, PhD, and MPhil resumed.
Principal Secretary Education Anju Sharma said that a decision on second-year courses will be taken after considering the feedback and experiences from final year and first-year students.
Colleges have been asked to strictly follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the state education department for hostels and the reopening of colleges.
According to the SOPs, there should be a staggered seating arrangement for students and they should be motivated to use virtual meeting software such as Google Meet and Microsoft Teams for group activities. All kinds of sports activities and the gym on the campus should remain closed.
A detailed SOP for hostels states that Samras hostels that were used as Covid Care Centres for asymptomatic patients but have been lying vacant for a long time with a decline in Covid cases across the state will accommodate not more than two students in a room.
“No student with any Covid symptom will be allowed admission in the hostel… food should be served in small groups with a slot-based coupon system… Students and staff staying in the hostels should avoid visiting markets and limit these visits…,” the SOPs stated.
For the preparation of food, it states that no washing soda, detergent powder or bleach should be used to wash vegetables, which should be washed only with warm water.
A joint meeting of the education and health departments chaired by health commissioner Jai Prakash Shivahare was held on January 28 where it was proposed by the state education department to reopen first and second year of colleges.
All students residing in the hostels have to undergo Covid guidelines, including thermal screening. The education institutes should ensure proper cleaning of kitchen, dining hall, bathroom, and toilets along with proper cleaning of utensils. Students have to get their own water bottles.
In schools, classes 9 and 11 resumed on February 1, while classes 10 and 12 reopened on January 11.