First year undergraduate courses start on February 8 in Gujarat

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After the partial reopening of schools and colleges, the government of Gujarat on Thursday declared the reopening of the first year of colleges from February 8 as well as hostel accommodation for students.

On January 11, classes for postgraduate, medical and paramedical courses as well as the last year of undergraduate, PhD and MPhil courses resumed.

Principal Education Secretary Anju Sharma said a decision on second-year courses will be made after considering feedback and experiences from graduating and first-year students.

Colleges have been urged to strictly follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the state’s education department for hostels and reopening of colleges.

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According to the SOPs, there should be a staggered seating arrangement for students and they should be motivated to use virtual meeting software such as Google Meet and Microsoft Teams for group activities. All kinds of sports and gym activities on campus should remain closed.

Detailed SOP for hostels says hostels in Samras that were used as Covid care centers for asymptomatic patients but have long been vacant with declining Covid cases across the state will house no more than two students per room.

“No student with a symptom of Covid will be allowed into the hostel… food should be served in small groups with a slot-based voucher system… Students and staff staying in hostels should avoid visiting markets and limit these visits… ”, the SOPs declared.

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For food preparation, it states that no baking soda, powdered detergents or bleach should be used to wash vegetables, which should only be washed in lukewarm water.

A joint meeting of education and health departments chaired by Health Commissioner Jai Prakash Shivahare was held on January 28 where it was proposed by the state education department to reopen the first and second year of college.

All students residing in hostels must comply with Covid guidelines, including heat screening. Educational institutes must ensure proper cleaning of the kitchen, dining room, bathroom and toilet as well as proper cleaning of utensils. Students should bring their own water bottles.

In schools, classes 9 and 11 resumed on February 1, while classes 10 and 12 reopened on January 11.


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