Amid sustained declines in daily new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday announced that colleges in the state will reopen from October 20. Uday Samant, Maharashtra's higher and technical education minister, said that students must be fully vaccinated to attend the physical classes, adding that colleges and universities should also discuss setting up vaccination camps with the local administration.
The decision comes in the wake of schools across the state resuming physical sessions for classes 5 to 12 on October 4 after being shut for over one-and-a-half years due to the pandemic.
"All the non-agricultural colleges, state-run universities, deemed universities, self-financed universities and colleges affiliated to them can start holding physical classes from October 20. The teaching as well as non-teaching staff should complete their vaccination on priority," Samant said.
"Only the students who have taken both the doses can attend the classes. Those students who are yet to complete their vaccination against COVID-19 should get it on priority by coordinating with their respective colleges," he added.
The decision related to how many students should attend a class would be taken after discussing the matter with the local authorities empowered under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. Every university should issue the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to the colleges affiliated to it, he said.
A proposal to allow college-going students to board local trains in Mumbai and neighbouring areas will be submitted before the state chief secretary soon, the minister said.
Those students who need to stay at the hostel will be intimated by their college administration. The colleges are supposed to discuss the issue with the officials of higher and technical education officials regarding the opening of hostels for students, he added.
Maharashtra has been witnessing a steady decline in infection cases and fatalities over the past few days. On Tuesday, the state's COVID-19 recovery rate stood at 97.36 per cent.