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Students, teachers seek govt clarity on offline lectures and train services

02:26 AM Jan 20, 2021 | Ronald Rodrigues

Students and professors of degree colleges affiliated to the University of Mumbai (MU) are awaiting a decision regarding reopening of offline lectures from the state government and state higher and technical education department. The university officials said the state will have to restart local train services for students and staff, provide clear guidelines for attendance per class, reopening of specific practical lectures and RT-PCR tests or Covid-19 vaccination of staff along with maintenance of Covid-19 safety protocols.

Students and professors of degree colleges said the state government should initiate measures for commuter train services if they plan on reopening offline lectures. Sanket Nikam, a third-year engineering student, said, "I cannot commute to college to attend practical lectures without a local train. Apart from Covid-19 SOPs, the state should first focus on allowing students and staff to commute by suburban trains."

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Olivia Joy, a biology professor said, "Is it really safe to restart train services for students and teachers when the Covid-19 pandemic situation is just seeming to be under control in Mumbai? Also, if the vaccination drive is on maybe the state government should wait for some time and then restart train services in phases."

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The state higher and technical education department is expected to take a decision about reopening degree colleges offline on January 20, 2021. A senior official of MU said, "We are waiting for specific guidelines regarding offline reopening of colleges and universities. Once we receive the guidelines from the state and directions from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the academic council will act on the guidelines and inform all colleges regarding its implementation."

The official further added, "Starting suburban train services is the main hurdle. But, along with that, the state should also provide guidelines whether students will be called in batches, 50 per cent attendance will be initiated and conduct of practical lectures only will be allowed. Also, the state should provide clarity on RT-PCR tests or Covid-19 vaccination of staff."

On January 9, 2021, Uday Samant, state higher and technical education minister had said that the Maharashtra government will take a decision regarding reopening of colleges on January 20.

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