The Government of Punjab on Monday reopened all the colleges and universities after a long gap of 9 months. Following the orders of the Indian Government, the Punjab government has shut all the educational institutions due to the nationwide lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, the government has decided to reopen the educational institutions in areas outside the COVID-19 containment zones.
The corresponding administrative departments have directed all the institutions to strictly follow all the COVID-19 standard operating procedures [SOPs]. The administrative departments have framed the SOPs upon consulting the state health department and the Union health ministry. One of the official spokespeople said, ‘all higher education, medical education, and research and technical education institutions, including all universities and colleges in areas outside containment zones in the state, would be allowed to re-open from November 16.’
Due to the nationwide lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic, all the educational institutions in the state were shut from 24th March 2020. As per the guidelines and SOPs, the institutions will allow only final-year students of various departments including science, medicine, engineering, and technology as part of the first phase of reopening. In the first phase, the students will be given hands-on training and they will be called for attending classes.
All the educational institutions have kept separate gates for the entry and exit of staff and students. Only one student per room will be accommodated in hostels in the beginning. At the entry point, each person will be permitted to enter the institute after the thermal screening, hand sanitizing, social distancing, wearing face masks, and more. As of now, the classes will be conducted with only 50 percent of students. All these guidelines must be followed as per the SOPs.
The number of students who attended the colleges was less on the first day. However, the majority of the students across the state have expressed their happiness towards attending regular classes after a long gap. One of the students outside a government college in Bathinda said, ‘Online classes have helped us during these months, but these cannot match regular classes where we meet our teachers face-to-face in a campus environment. There are distractions and limitations while studying at home.’
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