All collegesâ€”state-run and privateâ€”across Karnataka will resume classes from July 26 (Monday) as COVID-19 cases are declining, said Deputy Chief Minister Dr CN Ashwathnarayan. "All higher education institutions, including undergraduate and postgraduate, engineering and polytechnic colleges across the state will reopen on Monday to resume classes as per the guidelines to ensure COVID-appropriate behaviour," Narayan said in a statement in Bengaluru on Sunday, July 25. Commenting on the decision to reopen campuses, the Deputy CM who also holds a higher education portfolio said that health experts were consulted before reopening colleges and that easing of restrictions in a calculated manner was recommended to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Physical classes across colleges and universities were suspended since mid-March owing to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. "As per the standard operating procedures (SOP), students who took at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine will be allowed to attend regular classes. The same norm applies to teachers and non-teaching staff," said Narayan. According to the state health department, 74% of students above 18 years of age have been vaccinated so far across the state.
Students have to submit a consent letter from their parents in a prescribed format to attend classes in colleges and universities. The students are given the option of attending online classes and contact classes will be held to facilitate clarifying doubts, the minister added.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Union Ministry of Health have issued SOPs and guidelines to comply with all the higher education institutions. "Wearing masks and physical distance between students is mandatory during class hours. Institutions have to take into account the number of students and classrooms available to ensure social distancing," the minister said.
Institutions have also been advised to map with the nearest primary health centre for testing students and faculty if found with COVID-19 symptoms. The colleges have to sanitise all areas, including furniture, laptops and computers to maintain hygiene.
"Teachers should send content material of each period covering the syllabus for one month in advance through WhatsApp, e-mail or Telegram. The content can be in the form of video lectures, power-point presentations, e-notes, e-books, audiobooks and practice questions" added Narayan.