In March 2020, physical classes in Maharashtra colleges were stopped following the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. Regular academic year exams were cancelled, while final-year exams were conducted online.
Now that the government of Maharashtra has permitted colleges to resume physical classes from October 20, students are worried about meeting the condition of minimum attendance of 75 per cent. Because only those colleges which are not in containment zones will be allowed to reopen. Additionally, students and staff staying within containment zones should not be allowed entry.
In February 2021, when Government had decided to open colleges for a brief period before the second wave, Maharashtra Higher and Technical Education Minister Uday Samant had informed that rule of a minimum of 75% attendance to be waived off for that academic session. However, so far, the government has not announced anything on the attendance criteria for this year.
Colleges in Maharashtra which are to reopen in two days have a strict schedule to follow. Issued by Mumbai University, the SOPs concern and affect colleges authorities, staff, and students. Only those colleges which are not in containment zones will be allowed to reopen.
Additionally, students and staff staying within containment zones should not be allowed entry. Colleges have been asked to stagger lecture hours for different programmes which will make it easier at entry and exit modes. Social standing, maintaining hygiene, and earring masks need to be maintained at all times, say the directive.
All staff, authorities, and students need to keep a copy of their vaccination certificate with the principal. Students who are not fully vaccinated have been asked to continue with their online lectures till they take the second dose. All canteens and shops within the campus and outside will remain shut till further notice.
The SOPS will affect about 837 colleges in Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Palghar, Ratnagiri, and Sindhudurg.