Thiruvananthapuram: Having eased COVID-19 restrictions in Kerala, colleges will reopen on October 4 after a gap of over a year, adhering to health protocols. The Higher Education Department’s Joint Secretary Sajukumar announced in an order that classes for the final semesters of degree and post-graduate courses would be held in compliance with COVID-19 health protocols. ‘All institutions under the Higher Education department shall start functioning from October 4,’ it said.
According to the proposal, final year PG courses will be held with full attendance while final year degree courses would have a 50% attendance rate. Timings will be determined by college councils according to space availability.
Importance should be given to practical classes for the science subjects, the order said, adding that the classes for other semesters will continue online. ‘The classrooms, libraries and laboratories should be sanitized well before the commencement of classes and the institutions can seek assistance from the local self government bodies concerned, health workers or NGOs,’ the order said.
According to the state government, the schools are required to ensure that students follow COVID-19 health protocol. ‘The institutions should ensure availability of adequate number of masks, sanitisers and hand wash facilities. Gatherings should be avoided,’ the order said.
It also instructed the institutions to arrange vaccination drives for students and staff with the health department. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced on September 7 that all institutions of higher education, including technical, polytechnic, and medical, would resume operations from October 4. He had, however, said that reopening the schools would be subject to the condition that all final year students, faculty, and staff receive at least one dose of the vaccine.
The government decided to eliminate night curfew and strict Sunday restrictions as part of easing restrictions. The Chief Minister stated that the decision was made since the Total Positivity Rate in the state, which was around 18.49 percent in the last week of August, fell to 17.91 percent in the first week of September.