Punjab universities, colleges reopen to poor attendance

Colleges and universities reopened on Monday across Punjab after an eight-month break following the Covid-19 outbreak, but most reported poor attendance.

In Amritsar, however, Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) and most of its affiliated colleges were closed with reopening dates yet to be fixed even though plans are being chalked out to start classes in phases. Buildings were being sanitised and staff tested for Covid-19.

According to the Khalsa college principal, Dr Mehal Singh, “the college was reopened for exit classes in the first phase, but just 15% students showed up. Since it was raining today (Monday) and the students were still confused about reopening dates not many of them attended classes. However, it will take nearly eight to 10 days for the situation to normalise,” he added.

Students took precautionary measures and wearing of masks was mandatory. “College staff was also tested for Covid-19 last week and the buildings are being sanitised regularly,” Dr Singh added.

According to information from Saroop Rani Government College in the city, nearly 15% to 20% students attended classes.

In Jalandhar, Doaba College remained open while Saint Soldier, Khalsa and others were closed due to the Bhai Dooj festival.

A Lovely Professional University spokesperson said the authorities had decided to resume classes from the next semester.

Most private colleges closed

In Faridkot, government colleges reopened in the south Malwa district but most private colleges were closed. Central University of Punjab (CUP) and Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Technical University (MRSPTU), both in Bathinda, did not reopen.

Special teams, however, inspected all campuses and reviewed sanitisation and social distancing arrangements in classrooms.

The student turnout was poor here too, with just 100 students out of 3,200 attending classes at the Government Brijindra college in Faridkot, and 10% reporting at the Government Rajindra College at Bathinda,

Confirming the poor attendance, Dr Raminder Ghai, principal of the Government Brijindra College said, “To maintain social distancing, we have asked the students to come on alternate days,with girls attending classes one day and boys the next.”

An MRSPTU official spokesperson said the academic session for the current semester will start from November 18, so the classes will resume from Wednesday. “The university officials on Monday held a meeting to discuss the reopening process,” he added.

CUP, which is running online classes, is yet to resume classroom teaching.

50% final year students in classes

Poor attendance was reported in Patiala too with about 10% students turning up at Government Mohindra College, even as the administration asked 50% final year students to attend.

“We have called final year students and that too on rotation basis. We have taken all precautionary measures to provide a safe environment to them,” said a college spokesperson.

About seven teachers had been deputed to ensure social distancing norms were being followed, he added.

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