22 college-based COVID clusters reported in Ernakulam

Ernakulam district has recorded nearly 22 college-based COVID-19 clusters as on Friday.

The spike in the number of such clusters is likely to continue as the government has not yet decided to suspend offline classes. Hostels on campuses figure in the nearly 22 college-based clusters in the district, according to official estimates.

V. Jayasree, District Medical Officer, said the heads of institutions can take a decision on whether to stop academic and hostel services based on the assessment of the caseload. Those tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 could be sent home and follow-up measures should be taken to ensure the quarantine of others and compliance with health protocols, she said.

Higher educational institutions having adequate infrastructure and support systems need not shut down hostels. However, they should ensure steps to check the spread of the disease among students, teachers, and members of the non-teaching staff. Dormitories set up in limited spaces within hostels need to be shut down in the wake of a cluster formation, according to the authorities.

Colleges, which have -witnessed cluster formations, are in a fix as they have not been able to take a call on whether to stop offline sessions and hostels. Principals pointed out that Mahatma Gandhi University has not yet cancelled the semester exams. “How can we ask students to leave hostels and return home when the exams are being held as per the schedule?,” they asked.

Students have also raised concerns over the decision by the varsity to conduct exams at a time when many college-based clusters are getting reported from different districts. Despite making repeated pleas, the university authorities are yet to understand the serious health situation, they said.

Even though the varsity has asked managements to make arrangements for infected students to write exams in separate rooms, students said that it was not easy for many to report for the exams while being under severe health and mental stress.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 2:42:39 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/22-college-based-covid-clusters-reported-in-ernakulam/article38303703.ece