Many university colleges in Delhi are holding open classrooms to ensure physical distancing

Many colleges in Delhi University are holding classes in open grounds and also in batches to ensure physical distancing as the majority of students started attending physical classes after the university reopened after a hiatus in two years imposed by Covid. The colleges also offer regular counseling to students facing psychological issues to help them adjust to the new environment.

The University of Delhi reopened last Thursday and the students are numerous. Colleges expect more students to arrive in the coming days. However, the return of a large number of students poses problems in ensuring compliance with Covid protocols. In addition, cases of physiological problems have increased among students, according to college principals. With this, the colleges are scrambling to ensure that quality education is provided to the students and at the same time their health is not compromised.

“We try to follow all the Covid protocols. As students come in large numbers, it is difficult to maintain social distancing. There is also an overcrowding problem. Social distancing is not possible, but we are strictly adhering to the wearing of masks and other protocols,” Hindu College Principal Anju Shrivastava told PTI.

As colleges open after a two-year lull, Shrivastava believes it will take time for things to calm down. “We still have students coming. It will take time to fully open up and we are working on it. We hope we will be settling in very soon. We have to prioritize everything – from classes to the cafeteria to the hostel. All things are to be considered,” she noted. Meanwhile, the principal of Ramjas College, Manoj Khanna, noted that the level of anxiety was very high among the students. “Suddenly the psychological problems among the students increased. The level of student anxiety is very high among students. We refer them to advisers,” he said. He claimed that it is quite difficult to maintain social distancing inside campus.

“Our infrastructural facilities are not such that we can fit all the students so we are taking classes in batches. We cannot isolate students. Although we try to maintain social distancing in the classrooms, but the students find themselves outside and it is very difficult to force them to maintain social distancing,” he added.

The colleges said they ensure that appropriate counseling is provided to students. Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College Principal Jaswinder Singh said: “We have trained counsellors. We offer advice to students. The counselor comes twice a week. But if there are urgent cases, we provide the contact details of the student adviser”. To avoid overcrowding, some teachers also take classes in the open. “We have given freedom to sit outside to hold outdoor classes. Several teachers are taking outdoor classes,” the principal of the Hindu college said.

Miranda House director Bijayalaxmi Nanda said the priority was to provide students with a full university experience bearing in mind that their health is not affected. “We suggest the college has open ground as transmission is less when it is out in the open. We make sure they come outside and into the classroom when asked to open the doors and windows. We make sure they wear masks,” she said. The principal also informed that the college is launching a new welfare program for this year to provide monetary support to students facing financial hardship.

“We are also working to provide support for students, such as providing them with living expenses. we are creating a list of students who needed social assistance and we will provide it to them as living costs in the city may have increased,” she said. “Apart from the scholarship, this is the novelty, we are starting, which will only be available for this year. Under this, the monetary support will be given to needy students. As needed, a certain amount will be provided to students during this time as social support,” she added.

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