Medical colleges in Puducherry reopen today

Preparing the ground: Health Minister Malladi Krishna Rao holding a meeting with officials and representatives from private medical colleges in Puducherry on Monday.   | Photo Credit: T.Singaravelou

All medical colleges in the Union Territory will re-open on Tuesday and resume classes in a phased manner, after a gap of nine months, in the first week of December after putting in place safety protocols as mandated by the National Medical Commission (NMC).

The colleges remained closed ever since the nation-wide lockdown was imposed in March in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Minister Malladi Krishna Rao, who held a meeting with officials on Monday, said it was decided that batches of students would be split into smaller groups to facilitate adequate distancing in classrooms while ensuring compliance with norms to wear masks and clean hands.

“We have asked institutions to resume classes in a phased manner. Besides following protocols recommended by the NMC, medical colleges should have a back-up plan to quickly shut down in case of a second wave of infections,” Health Director S. Mohan Kumar said.

In Puducherry, PIMS and MGMCRI have resumed classes and the rest of the institutions, including IGMCRI and Jipmer in the city and its offshore campus in Karaikal, would follow suit shortly.

Under NMC guidelines, institutions should be ready with a plan to monitor disinfection measures, safety and health conditions, screen and detect the infected persons, and implement containment measures to prevent the spread of the infection.

Day scholars should be let in only after their body temperature is checked, sanitisation of hands, wearing of face masks and gloves. Students would undergo a Rapid Antigen Test before classes commence while hostel students would be subjected to RT-PCR test.

Symptomatic persons should not be permitted to enter the campus and should be advised to contact the nearest hospital for clinical assessment. Regular visits of a counsellor might be arranged so that students could share with the counsellor their anxiety, stress or fear.

The NMC has stipulated that to avoid the risk of transmission, students, faculty and staff should be screened and symptomatic ones be advised to get clinically assessed before allowing them on the campus.

Isolation and quarantine facilities should be arranged on campus or at a hospital or approved premises or as advised by the local authorities. Availability of food, water and healthcare should be ensured for those in quarantine and isolation facilities.

For those who test positive, isolation facilities should be arranged, as advised by the local authorities. The NMC norms include physical distancing of at least 6 feet, mandatory use of face covers or masks, frequent hand washing with soap (for at least 40-60 seconds) even when hands are not visibly dirty, use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers (for at least 20 seconds) and adherence to respiratory etiquettes — the practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing of used tissues properly.

The NMC advocates self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest. Spitting is strictly prohibited and installation and use of Aarogya Setu app is advised wherever feasible. There should be no crowding at hostels and in the mess.

Advisory to colleges

Medical colleges have been advised to plan re-opening in phases in such a way that they ensure social distancing, use of face masks and other protective measures. Thereafter, for didactic lectures, students may be taught via online platforms.

For all teaching hospitals, at least 30% beds should be allotted to teaching units and necessary precautions taken.

Students should be instructed to visit their respective departments in small groups for consultation with the faculty members, after seeking prior appointments to avoid crowding while maintaining physical distancing norms and other safety protocols, the NMC said.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 9:48:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/medical-colleges-in-puducherry-reopen-today/article33217069.ece

Next Story