As many as 43 students have tested positive for Covid on the IIT Kharagpur campus since late December till Sunday, the number doubling in a span of two days, said an official of the institute.
“Cases began to be reported after the convocation was held on the campus on December 18,” the official said.
“Then some undergraduate students went to Kolkata for a Christmas celebration. Once they returned, the rate of infection went up further. A self-imposed hall curfew is in force from December 31 to January 3. We have to decide whether the duration of the curfew would have to be extended.”
Another official said they were worried about the rise in cases because close to 5,500 students are on the campus.
The institute is calling students to the campus so they could use the internet facilities at hostels to attend online classes.
Close to 3,000 students arrived on the campus from December 26 to 30.
“Since ours is a residential institute, the rise in infection has triggered worries among students and teachers. As stepping out of the campus to celebrate Christmas has been identified as one of the reasons for the surge, the hall curfew was put in place to disallow New Year celebrations,” the official said.
The curfew disallows students of one hostel from visiting another.
In October, the institute had informed research scholars that those who would go home during Puja had to ‘self-quarantine’ in their rooms for about a week on their return to the campus.
An official said no such measure was taken during Christmas. “This seems to have aggravated the situation,” he said.
The institute has halted the students’ return to the campus following the sudden sharp rise in Covid cases across the country.
Research scholars who enrolled in July 2021 and first-year MTech and BTech students were scheduled to arrive on the campus from the first week of January.
“Students who could not come in last week’s slot are being told not to come now…. We will communicate to them later based on the ground situation,” said Dhrubajyoti Sen, dean of students’ affairs.
An official said the IIT Kharagpur administration would consider the Bengal government’s advisory issued on Sunday before deciding whether any further precautionary steps would have to be taken.
Since the outbreak of Covid in March 2020, the IIT Kharagpur campus has been closed twice following a spurt in the number of Covid cases on the campus.