Caution intact as colleges open today

Minister appeals to students to be responsible towards others, maintain safety norms

After yet another COVID-19-induced break, colleges in the State are set to reopen on Monday.

Postgraduate and final-year undergraduate students will be the first to enter the college portals as part of a phased reopening, followed by first and second-year students on October 18.

On Sunday, cleaning and disinfection activities were nearing completion in colleges.

The institutions have been instructed to follow COVID-19 protocols strictly. Students are required to present their digital vaccination certificates at the help desks set up in colleges. Those infected with COVID-19 and hence have not been able to get vaccinated have to present documentation of infection. Hostels should prepare facilities for quarantining students.

Colleges have been asked to make their own decisions regarding accommodating students — whether students should come in separate batches the same day, on alternate days, or alternate weeks.

Minister for Higher Education R. Bindu appealed to students to follow the safety norms such as maintaining physical distancing, using masks and sanitisers and handwash with a sense of responsibility to others, including their families.

Students, she said, had not been left untouched by the challenges brought on by COVID-19 such as loss of jobs. Reopening of colleges, she hoped, would help reduce the mental stress being experienced by them and bring them back to healthy state of mind.

Double masking

Health Minister Veena George, in a statement, reminded students that COVID-19 was still around and utmost vigil was needed against it. Double masking or N95 masks were important in protection against the Delta variants. Masks should not be lowered during conversations. Crowding should be avoided. Students should avoid touching nose, mouth or eyes with their hands. They should not share stationery, water, or lunch and keep classroom doors and windows open. Students or teachers with cold, cough, fever, or breathing trouble should not come to colleges. Those on contact lists should follow quarantine guidelines. Students should not eat lunch together in groups. They should maintain a gap of at least 2 metres and avoid speaking while eating.

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