Explained: Shut since March, how Delhi University plans to reopen gradually

Dean of Students Welfare Rajeev Gupta said preparations are underway to allow students to return to Delhi university in a phased manner.

Delhi University has decided its final year students who need to use laboratories and access practical classes may be allowed to return to their colleges and departments in February. However, the administration has underlined this is on a voluntary basis and all theory classes will continue to be held online.

Who goes to college in February and is it mandatory?

The university has been closed since mid-March after the nationwide lockdown was announced. In August, it began its new semester completely in the online mode and has so far held two cycles of online examinations. With the conclusion of the second cycle of its Open Book Examination (OBE), the university is now moving into the final semester for the students who have been attending their final year online.

Dean of Students Welfare Rajeev Gupta said that owing to this, preparations are underway to allow students, who wish to access the labs and practical classes, to return to the university in a phased manner. Only the practical component will be available to those students offline, who can attend these in small groups, while all theory classes will continue to be conducted in the online mode.

He emphasised that this is optional. “Students will get to decide whether they want to come back or not. We will not force anyone.”

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What about students who do not want to or cannot return to college?

The university has been conducting its practical components with online tools so far. These will continue to be used by students who do not want to return to college.

“We are not here to penalise anyone. We have to consider that there are students from different parts of the country who might not have the same kind of access to the tools. They are also not comparable to actually working in a lab. Those who feel the need for offline lab and practical work may return,” said Gupta.

What about students of other years?

Students of other years will also continue with their academic work online. Gupta said the priority is to give the chance to do practical work to final semester students as these are their last few months to complete all components of their curriculum.

“Students in other years can still have time to catch up and practical components can be adjusted later if need be. For final year students, this is the last chance,” he said.

University officials said the rest of the month of January will be spent in preparing SOPs for this graded return and acquainting to faculty members with the UGC guidelines issued for this kind of return.

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