New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) today issued new guidelines for reopening of universities and colleges across the country. Educational Institutes are closed since March in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For central universities and other centrally funded higher education institutions, the decision for reopening of campuses has been left to the Vice Chancellors and heads. Whereas, for state universities and colleges, the respective state governments will have to take a call, the guidelines said.

The UGC has directed Universities and Colleges to plan the opening of campuses in a phased manner, with such activities where they can easily adhere to social distancing, use of face masks and other protective measures This may include administrative offices, research laboratories and libraries etc.

Thereafter, students of all research programmes and post-graduate students in science & technology programmes may join as the number of such students is comparatively less and norms of physical distancing and preventive measures can be easily enforced, guideline states.  

“Final year students may also be allowed to join for academic and placement purposes, as per the decision of the head of the institution” it added.

The universities and colleges shall only be allowed to open if they are outside the containment zones, UGC guidelines read and it also decided not to allow students and staff living in containment zones to attend the institutions.

Students can also opt for online classes and UGC has directed institutions to provide online study material and access to e-resources to such students for teaching-learning.

“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,” it said.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.