Mumbai: Finally, the wait is over for students itching to get out of online classes and set foot on actual college campuses. After almost a year and a half of remaining shut because of the coronavirus pandemic, colleges in Maharashtra will reopen from October 20, the higher and technical education minister Uday Samant announced here on Wednesday.
“We have prepared the rules for the reopening of the colleges and they will be communicated to all the universities and colleges. Accordingly, a decision has to be taken in consultation with the local authorities to restart the colleges with a capacity of 50 per cent or more. We have empowered the universities for the same,” he said.
If colleges are to restart in Mumbai, the department will request the railways to give permission. The state has also decided to re-open hostels in phases, said Samant.
“All non-agricultural colleges, state-run universities, deemed universities, self-financed universities and colleges affiliated to them can restart holding physical classes from October 20. Teaching, as well as non-teaching staff, should complete their vaccination on priority,” Samant said.
The minister said, colleges could reopen with more than 50 per cent capacity where the corona infections had reduced.
The state would be releasing standard operating procedures (SOPs), but universities could make their own with help from local government bodies. “Students should be fully vaccinated before coming to class. If they are not vaccinated, colleges can hold camps for the same,” said Samant. Students, teachers, staff and parents who have taken two doses are requested to abide by Covid rules, he added.
In regions with a higher number of cases, the local corporation government could delay the re-opening, he said.
Online classes would continue for students unable to attend physical classes. The state is relaxing lockdown norms in phases, as there is a steady decline in Covid cases.
Students needing hostel accommodation would be informed by their college administration.
Samant’s announcement came on a day when Maharashtra reported 2,219 new cases, 49 deaths and a fatality rate of 2.12. There are 29,555 active patients and 1,39,670 deaths have occurred since the outbreak of the pandemic.