The rising coronavirus cases in the national capital has urged institutions of higher education – including the Delhi University (DU) and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to take urgent steps to restrain the spread of the virus on their campuses.
The DU had announced guidelines, on Saturday, advising students to stay at home or their hostels and avoid physical presence for their educational work unless “very essential”, the JNU on Sunday made it compulsory for all to wear masks at all times inside the campus.
In a notice, the DU said that educational activities and essential works will continue with a thermal screening at gates, social distancing and wearing masks are compulsory, when entering inside the Faculty of Science, Faculty of Arts, hostels and halls among other places will be limited and no outsiders allowed. The University has also cancelled booking of conference centre and seminar hall for any functions till further notice.
The Delhi University’s St Stephen’s College on Friday notified that after a trip to Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh in the last week of March 13 of its students and two staff members had tested positive for COVID-19. In a response to the outbreak, college principal John Varghese said “the inner perimeter of the college is out of bounds for all”. “The outer perimeter of the college may be accessed by those with relevant and regular work after due process at the security counter.”
Faculty who are scheduled to come to college may defer their coming till a notification informs them of an improvement in the condition,” a notice by the principal said. Delhi recorded 3,567 COVID-19 cases on Saturday and the positive rate continued to rise to 4.48 per cent from 4.11 per cent a day ago while 10 more people died to the deadly virus.
The national capital has faced an increase in cases with 3,594 cases having reported on Friday, the highest daily count this year so far, 2,790 cases on Thursday, 1,819 cases on Wednesday and 992 cases on Tuesday, according to official data. In a circular, the JNU said face masks will be compulsory for students and employees across the campus, including at hostels, library, administrative buildings and on the road.
“Students and employees will be allowed in hostels, administrative buildings, school buildings and the Dr B R Ambedkar Central Library and other buildings and public spaces, including shopping complexes and walking on the road, only if they are found wearing the mask,” it said. The JNU instructed faculty and staff members to use face masks at all times “to set an example” with regard to observing COVID-19 protocols. Shopkeepers and canteen staff have also been instructed to wear face masks.
The circular said that “any violation would attract closure of shop or canteen for two days initially, and further violation will be dealt with strictly as per guidelines and norms of the government of India, the Delhi government and the University notification, etc”.
Hand sanitisation and thermal screening have been made compulsory at all key points, including at schools, special centres, hostels, the administration building and the central library, it said. Unlike the DU and the JNU, which have allowed sections of students to return to campus as part of their reopening process, Jamia Millia Islamia so far has not resumed offline operation.