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Bengaluru colleges reopen campus but offline classes yet to begin

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Bengaluru, 16 Jan 2021 [Fik/News Sources]: Offline classes for students of undergraduate, postgraduate, engineering and diploma courses were to resume from Friday in Karnataka. However, though colleges in Bengaluru have opened their campuses while following the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the state government, offline classes are yet to resume. While St Joseph’s College of Commerce (SJCC) has allowed students to come to campus with a consent letter, Christ (deemed to be) University has opened their campus only to conduct practical classes and exams, without allowing any other students in the premises.

“We sent a Google form to the students to gauge how many wanted to attend offline classes and among 112 students, as much as 12 per cent students opted for offline classes,” said Father Daniel Fernandes, Principal of SJCC. He further added that the online method of teaching has been running smoothly, which is why they are continuing with it. The officials at the Christ (deemed to be) University, however, said that allowing their 26,000-strong student body to attend offline classes at once would be very chaotic. This is why the administration chose to open the college only for practical sessions and doctorate students who need resources for their research.

In addition to following the SOPs issued by the state, some colleges are asking students to produce a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test report taken 72 hours before coming to the campus. The SOPs issued by Deputy CM and state Minister of Higher Education.

According to the Deputy Chief Minister and in charge of higher education, CN Ashwath Narayan’s notification, colleges can also resume cultural and sports activities. However, so far, colleges have refrained from doing so.

“Students are allowed to come on campus, they can sit in the library or use computer laboratories and can individually play sports. However, the students cannot represent the college in any inter-collegiate cultural or sports activity. Our canteen is also open but we have only allowed the sale of packaged goods. The students wanted to attend offline classes; the parents weren’t consenting to this. We won’t allow any student to come to campus without consent letter,” added Father Fernandes of SJCC.

Meanwhile, students are yearning to go back to their campuses after a year of online education. A group of students of the Life Sciences Department at Christ University said that they have not been given any notification regarding the commencement of offline classes. “It is imperative for our course that we come and practically conduct experiments, thus we have been allowed to come to the campus. However, we have to maintain social distance, wear masks and sanitise our hands at all times. Many of us coming to the campus are either final year students or doctorate students,” they said. They added that producing a negative COVID-19 test report is not mandatory for them.

A student of the BBA Department in SJCC said, “The offline classes have not yet resumed and will likely begin from February. The online classes will continue until then. We have to always carry a consent form signed by our parents mandatorily. We are waiting for the recommencement of offline classes.”

“Due to unstable internet connection and other factors, we sometimes cannot hear the professor clearly and have had issues grasping the basic concepts because of the same. If they resumed offline classes, it will help us study better. Undoubtedly, conducting the exam has become easier owing to the online model, but we are struggling,” added another student.

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