In a major post-Covid step towards normalising academic activities on campus, the University of Hyderabad (UoH) has decided to permit an additional 2000 students to return to the campus. The move marks a major phase in reopening the university campus for enabling in-person academic activities.
A statement issued on Thursday noted, “The Vice Chancellor has approved the recommendations of the task force headed by professor Vinod Pavarala to permit the return of all terminal semester post-graduate students who will complete their respective programmes and graduate in June. Additionally, all Ph.D. students, except those who joined in 2020-21, can come back to resume their research work on campus. For now, all Master’s students who joined the University in 2020 will continue to have online classes. The return will be entirely voluntary and the University will continue teaching-learning activities online for those who wish to remain at their homes.”
The latest announcement is on top of the 1,300 students, including research scholars and final semester students in science and practical disciplines such as performing arts and fine arts, who have already been allowed to return to the campus and stay in the hostels.
As one of the first universities in the country to have a dedicated team to prepare a roadmap for resumption of academic activities amid the global pandemic, the UoH has already facilitated senior research scholars to complete their thesis submissions, commenced online teaching since August last year, reopened its main library and provided remote access to digital resources to all students and faculty, put in place a digital access grant to address problems of digital divide, and kick-started laboratory sessions for science students.
After reviewing the current situation with regard to Covid-19, the progress of the vaccine drive, and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the task force has mandated that all students returning in the latest phase must produce a Covid-negative report from an RT-PCR test, sign an undertaking, and spend a minimum of three days in isolation on a campus facility, with those returning from six states — Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat, where there is a reported surge in cases — required to spend seven days in isolation.
Depending on class sizes, all academic units have been advised to prepare for physical classes as well as giving instructions in the blended mode (combination of offline and online), following all the Covid-related protocols.