Delhi University is all set to start the physical classes for final year undergraduate and postgraduate students. The University is working on standard operating procedures (SOPs) which are expected to be issued in a couple of weeks.
On January 7, 2021 Delhi University announced that the university will slowly and carefully start allowing only final year students to return to the campus for lab work or practical classes. However, only a small group of students will be allowed at a time.
As per reports, the next semester at Delhi University colleges may be taught offline.
Delhi University's official spokesperson Balaram Pani, principal of Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Sciences said that the DU' affiliated colleges are discussing the modalities. The major concern is the outstation students as they will be requiring hostels to stay.
He further said that the University is figuring out how to facilitate the outstation students and is also planning to arrange some sort of testing facilities for the incoming students to ensure health and safety of all.
Balaram Pani further informed that the next semester may begin in physical mode, if the situation stabilizes by April or May.
In November, DU first allowed the final year postgraduate students of science courses to return to laboratories in small count. After which the final year Undergraduate students also demanded phased return of science students.
The major concern of re-entry in DU was because the students were losing their credit points due to no practical classes.
DU has announced the phased return of final year students, but the announcement stands to affect Commerce and Humanities students as well, as both the courses also require certain lab work.
DU dean of students, Rajeev Gupta said that the phased entry will be initiated from February 2021.
The major challenge in front of all DU colleges is maintaining social distancing amid COVID-19 situation. Due to which only fewer students will be allowed at a time to perform lab work, which may create a learning divide among students who will not be able to visit campuses.
Ramjas College principal, Manoj Khanna said in this regard, "It is challenging to ensure social distancing. The seating capacity in labs will have to be reduced to one-sixth so as to follow six feet social distancing. This means students may attend only one or two physical classes in a stipulated time period."
On the other hand, Miranda House college of DU is waiting for University to release advisory on the matter. The college is preparing four technologically blended classrooms with 360 degree cameras so that teachers can record and stream the classes for students who couldn't attend the physical classes.
Miranda House hostels will remain closed during this period and the college will allow only local students or the ones who can arrange their own accommodation.
Preparing for the DU offline classes, Miranda House principal Bijayalaxmi Nanda informed that the college has installed contactless sanitiser dispensers and has also stocked face masks and face shields. The classes are also sanitised as per protocols.
General Secretary of Delhi University Principal's Association, Manoj Sinha said that the University is mentally prepared to face the challenge of reopening during COVID-19 times.
Sinha also said, "Along with SOPs, we will be asking students to install Arogya Setu App. Cameras are also setting up to video stream the classes for students who can attend the lab work or practical classes via online means only."
The conversation around vaccination is also giving a boost to all the educational institutions.