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Omicron forces residential institutes in Bengal to defer students’ return to campus

Two students will share a large room at Ramakrishna Mission Residential College (Autonomous) Narendrapur

Subhankar Chowdhury | Published 27.12.21, 09:22 AM
Representational image.

Representational image.

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Residential educational institutes like NIT Durgapur and IIEST, Shibpur, have decided to either defer calling students to the campus or hold meetings soon to discuss how to go about the process, the move prompted by the emergence of Omicron.

The NIT had earlier this month decided to recall BTech second-year, third-year and fourth-year students and MTech first-year students in December and January.

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The institute, where half the seats are reserved for students from other states, has since pushed back the arrival of the undergraduate second-year and postgraduate first-year students to April and May, respectively, following the “identification of omicron in different states of the country”. 

The fourth-year BTech students will arrive in February. Only the third-year students will arrive in January as scheduled.

The Omicron variant of the coronavirus was first detected in South Africa last month and is spreading rapidly in many countries around the world.

“By taking stock of the present Covid situation and the restrictions imposed by different state and national governments and identification of Omicron...., the 64th Senate held on 24.12.2021 has resolved that the earlier plan of return of the students as notified on 06.12.2021 has been rescheduled,” stated a notice signed by the dean of students.

The notice stated that first-year BTech students will arrive in May. 

“There is a directive from the state government that hostels cannot be crowded. We are an entirely residential institute and have decided to opt for a staggered entry,” Anupam Basu, director of the institute, said. 

In early December, while announcing the decision to recall students, the institute had said in a notice that undergraduate students who were being called to attend in-person classes had to state in a consent form that they had no-objection to staying in a shared room in the hostel.

An NIT official said some guardians were not willing to send their children to the campus because of this condition. “Since the new variant has a high transmissibility rate, they don’t want their sons or daughters to stay in a shared room,” he said.

IIEST, Shibpur, is working on a plan to call students of second and third-year in the even semester that starts in January.

The deans, chief warden and hostel superintendents will soon meet to decide on finalising the schedule of arrival factoring in the prevailing situation, said an IIEST official.

In IIEST, too, half the seats are reserved for students from other states.

The official said they were keeping a watch on the course of the pandemic before announcing the schedule.

“We have asked our engineering department to get the hostels ready before students are called back to the campus for in-person classes. But we also have to consider how the pandemic unfolds over the next few days following the emergence of the new variant,” he said.

The first-year postgraduate and undergraduate students of chemistry and physics and first-year undergraduate students of mathematics of Ramakrishna Mission Residential College (Autonomous) Narendrapur have been asked to arrive on the campus on January 2 to attend practical classes.

Two students will share a large room, said a college official.

Last updated on 27.12.21, 12:03 PM
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