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Gujarat: Colleges enhance safety norms as cases rise on campuses


While COVID-19 cases have doubled in a week’s time at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, (IIM-A), other premier campuses in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, too, have reported a high number of cases forcing institutes to impose a number of restrictions, besides making RT-PCR tests mandatory for students leaving the campuses.

From 59 active cases, the number of infections on IIM-A campus has jumped to 112 over the last 7 days. Most of the infected are students (61), followed by off-campus staff members (19). Of the total 492 tests conducted between April 1 and 7, 54 have tested positive.
On March 10 the institute imposed a number of restrictions: no outside official guests permitted to visit campus, no physical meeting, no delivery of food from outside as far as possible, no stepping out of campus unless essential, penalty of Rs 1,000 for not wearing masks and violating social-distancing norms.

On Wednesday, IIM-A again reminded its community there would be no sports or games on campus, eateries will provide only take-aways, and no seating and no gathering on the campus. Students lining in dorms have been advised not to interact with inmates of other dorms.
At Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, the district panchayat conducted a vaccination drive following reports of a surge in cases. When contacted, Gandhinagar Collector Kuldeep Arya refuted reports that students at the institute had been administered vaccines. “Though the campus comes under municipal corporation limits, the vaccination drive was conducted last week by the zilla panchayat team in close coordination with the CDHO (chief District Health Officer) and 275 persons, including its faculty members, security staff and other contractual staff was vaccinated. No student was vaccinated,” Arya told The Indian Express.

IIT-Gn did not respond to questions on the matter emailed by this paper.

At the Gujarat National Law University (GNLU), Gandhinagar, the number of cases reported across the year (from March 2020 to February 2021) doubled within a month. As per a response to an email sent by The Indian Express, between March 2021 to April 7 the institute reported 15 cases against only seven reported over the last year until February 2021. Among these 15, five are students, four each from faculty and research staff and among family members staying on the GNLU campus while another two among were administrative staff. Last year, five administration staffers and two faculty and research staff had tested positive. Currently, there are 149 students on GNLU campus.
Officials said there was just one active case on the campus. “While, faculty and research staff has already permitted to work from home earlier, today, administrative staff has also been permitted to work from home. Only one person from each section has been asked to attend university every day,” GNLU registrar Jagadeesh Chandra T G said.

Following the nationwide lockdown in March last year, the institute had shifted all its academic activities, including evaluation, online. When the situation improved in January this year, it opened the campus for the final-semester students though the classes continued online and not all of them arrived on the campus.
“Few final-semester students have obtained permission for staying on the campus but have not come on the campus as yet. Given the recent spike in cases, we have advised such students to postpone their plans until further notice,” the institute stated in its response.
Like IIM-A, GNLU too has mandated its students arriving from their hometowns to take the RT-PCR test on arrival. Further, students have been advised to go out of the campus only when essential and after obtaining prior permission.

“If a student remains outside the campus for more than 48 hours, they would be allowed to enter the campus only on producing a negative test report,” GNLU officials said.

While, over 75 per cent of CEPT University’s faculty and staff have been vaccinated, so far, the university currently has three active cases. Two of them are from the administrative team and one is a support staffer. All three are home quarantined and will be allowed to resume work once they have submitted negative RT-PCR reports.
Currently, CEPT University does not have any exams as the mid-term tests were conducted online in March 2021, the final exams are scheduled towards end April and early May, which may be conducted online, the institute informed.

With a spurt in cases, the Gujarat Technological University (GTU) on Wednesday postponed all its winter 2020 examinations slated to be held in April. Only online multiple-choice questions examinations will be conducted for remaining tests, it said.
“Students will be first required to appear in pre-check trial test. Successful pre-check trial test is mandatory for students to register for the online MCQ-type exam. Schedule for pre-check trial test will be declared afterwards on the GTU website,” a circular issued by GTU stated.
The university, however, has allowed offline MCQ examinations only for students who are not able to appear in pre-check trial test or online MCQ examinations due to some technical issue.

Cong leader writes to PM

On Wednesday, Congress’s Gujarat spokesperson Manish Doshi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting special care in view of the spread of the Covid-19 infection in the national educational institutes like IIM, IIT, IIHT, IIFT, NID, IIIT, NIT, CEPT, GNLU, and CUG, especially because students from various states study in these institutes.

“Covid infection is spreading widely and very fast in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan. So, there is widespread apprehension among students… Under the circumstances, you are requested to instruct authorities concerned to take precautionary measures in national educational institutes in these states, and to make available medical facilities on the campus itself,” the letter states.



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