IIT Kharagpur campus closure extended till September 18
IIT Kharagpur has extended the closure of the campus till September 18 as Covid-19 cases are still being reported on the campus.
A notice signed by the institute's registrar, B.N. Singh, announced the extension of the closure, during which safety measures will be “strictly implemented”.
The authorities had earlier announced that the campus would be closed for at least a week. The week since the closure began ended on Sunday, but the authorities decided to extend it as the spread of the coronavirus could not be contained entirely and contact tracing was on.
With the closure having been extended, no employee of the institute will be permitted to leave the campus till further orders, except for emergency. Those who stay outside the campus are not allowed to enter.
The employees who stay on the campus but are currently outside have been asked to stay where they are and work from there.
“After a review of the situation, we felt that there was a need to extend the closure till September 18 as the chain of spread could not be broken entirely. Besides, the task of contact tracing is not over yet,” an official said.
The OPD of BC Roy Technology Hospital on the campus, which remained closed till September 13, will operate with limited OPD/medicine renewal services only for campus residents. The hospital also caters to retired employees who stay outside the campus.
Retired employees and even the serving ones who stay outside the campus are not allowed to visit the hospital and have been advised to buy medicines locally.
If people from outside are let in, there can be a spurt in Covid cases because cases are on the rise around the campus,” said an official.
The first positive case on the campus was recorded on August 19. The count shot up close to 30 by September 5, a surge that prompted the institute to take steps to break the chain of spread.
Although cases are being reported, the rate of spread of the virus has slowed down. The drop in intensity has convinced the authorities to extend the closure.
No domestic help and gardener will be allowed to enter the campus. All offices of the institute will remain closed, according to the notice issued by the registrar.
“We need to urgently stop the spread of the virus on the campus because hospitals outside the campus are dealing with a rising number of cases in Kharagpur town and the rest of West Midnapore district and do not have adequate beds,” said an official of the institute.
The dean of students affairs at the IIT, Somesh Kumar, had last week told the students that it was becoming increasingly difficult to find a bed for a Covid patient in hospitals in Calcutta. Among those infected, five are students.
The IIT had on September 8 requested the 60-odd students still on the campus to leave at the earliest as it was “highly risky’’ to stay in hostels amid the Covid-19 pandemic considering the “stressed and insufficient medical facilities’’ in the town. Around 30 have since left for home.