New Delhi: The University Grants Commission framed and issued Guidelines for the universities and colleges for reopening their campuses.These Guidelines have been vetted by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Education. The Guidelines may be adopted by the institutions as per the local conditions and directives of the Government authorities.
The Universities and Colleges outside the containment zones may be opened in a graded manner after consultations with concerned State/UT Governments and subject to adherence to the guidelines/SOP for safety and health protocol prepared by UGC, as under:
- For Centrally Funded Higher Education Institutions, the Head of the Institution should satisfy herself/himself regarding the feasibility of the opening of physical classes and decide accordingly.
- For all other Higher Educational Institutions, e.g., State Universities, Private Universities, Colleges etc., opening of physical classes to be done as per the decision of the respective State/UT Governments.
- Universities and colleges may plan opening the campuses in phases, with such activities where they can easily adhere to social distancing, use of face masks and other protective measures This may include administrative offices, research laboratories and libraries etc.
- Thereafter, students of all research programmes and post-graduate students in science & technology programmes may join as the number of such students is comparatively less and norms of physical distancing and preventive measures canbe easily enforced.
- Further, final year students may also be allowed to join for academic and placement purposes, as per the decision of the head of the institution.
However, for (iii), (iv) and (v) above, it should be ensured that not more than 50% of the total students should be present at any point of time and necessary guidelines/protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are in place.
- For the programmes, other than those mentioned in paras (iv) and (v) above, online/distance learning shall continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and shall be encouraged.
- However, if required, students may visit their respective departments in a small number for consultation with the faculty members, after seeking prior appointments to avoid crowding, while maintaining physical distancing norms and other safety protocols.
- Some students may opt not to attend classes and prefer to study online while staying at home. Institutions may provide online study material and access to e-resources to such students for teaching-learning.
- Institutions should have a plan ready for such international students who could not join the programme due to international travel restrictions or visa-related issues. Online teaching-learning arrangements should also be made for them.
- Hostels may be opened only in such cases where it is necessary while strictly observing the safety and health preventive measures. However, the sharing of rooms may not be allowed in hostels. Symptomatic students should not be permitted to stay in the hostels under any circumstances.
- Before the reopening of any campus, the Central or concerned State Government must have declared the area safe for opening of educational institutions. The directions, instructions, guidelines and orders issued by the Central and concerned State Government regarding safety and health in view of COVID-19 must be fully abided by the higher education institutions.
These Guidelines provide in detail the measures to be taken by Higher Educational Institutions before re-opening of campuses. It also describes the safety measures to be taken by HEIs at Entry/Exit Point(s), in the classrooms and other learning sites, inside the campus and in the Hostels. Guidance for counselling and mental health is also provided in this document.
Earlier, the University Grants Commission issued “Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities in View of COVID-I9 Pandemic and Subsequent Lockdown” on 29th April, 2020 and then, on 6th July, 2020. These Guidelines covered important dimensions related to examinations, academic calendar, admissions, online teaching-learning, and provided flexibility for adoption by the universities.
Later, “UGC Guidelines on Academic Calendar for the First Year of Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate Students of the Universities for the Session 2020-21 in View of COVID-19 Pandemic” were issued on 24thSeptember, 2020.