IIEST Shibpur has asked students to leave the campus immediately as staying in hostels could prove hazardous amid the spike in Covid cases, said an official of the institute.
An order, signed by the institute’s acting registrar Rana Roy on Wednesday, says: “Students staying in halls/hostels may be asked to leave as soon as possible. However, if any student is not able to go back home, he or she will have to submit consent from his or her parents. Such boarders...shall not be allowed to go outside the campus (except for medical purpose) without the permission of the chief warden.”
An official said 130 students — BTech, MTech and research scholars put together — are on the campus as the institute was in the process of calling back them for practical classes and the theory ones from the WiFi-enabled hostels.
“By way of the consent, the students have to give an undertaking that he is aware about the risks associated with staying in the hostels amid the pandemic, and he will be held solely responsible,” he said.
Another official said that unlike IIT Kharagpur, not a single campus resident, student, teacher and official, had yet been tested positive here.
However, it is difficult to monitor whether students are maintaining physical distancing in hostels and dining halls, said another official. “If any one tests positive, it will spread faster on a residential campus. We don’t want to take any risk. Besides, stricter travel restrictions might be imposed in the coming days. If we don’t allow students to go home now, they could be stuck,” he said. Half of the students at the IIEST come from the states outside Bengal.
In last April, the primary healthcare centre on the campus was turned into a Covid-care unit with beds, oxygen support and isolation facilities after several residents, including teachers and staff members, had been tested positive and faced trouble finding beds in hospitals with which the institute has tie-ups.
Harshvardhan Singh, general secretary of the IIEST students senate, said some students might want to stay in the hostels to use the Internet connectivity. “All offline academic activities shall be kept on hold. However scholars, final-year postgraduate students (who have recently joined the laboratories) may visit the laboratories only for some urgent research activities with prior permission of the supervisor or head of depart-ment….maintaining all Covid protocols,” the notice said.