Medical students in Puducherry colleges concerned over COVID-19 safety norms

Amid a resurgence of coronavirus cases, a section of medical students has raised concerns over lax safety norms at classrooms and hostels in some private medical colleges even after instances of students testing positive for COVID-19 on campuses.

Students say that even after switching the first and second year medical students to the online mode, the proportion of students for whom physical attendance is still the norm was too substantial to maintain distancing in classrooms. The use of thermal scanners at entry points is not uniformly followed and even after cases have been reported on campuses and in hostels, testing of potential contacts is not followed, students of a private medical college allege.

L-G’s order

Lt. Governor Tamilisai Soundarajan had issued an order on March 25 according approval to the proposal for conduct of classes by all colleges (government and private) solely on online mode with six working days from March 26. Only practical classes for final semester students would be conducted in offline mode (classroom-based) following all safety norms as per SOP, the order stated.

In a subsequent order on April 5, the Lt. Governor extended the online only mode to certain segments in medical colleges. As per the order, classes for first and second year and para medics would be held only through online mode.

Regular classes would be conducted to students of third year, final year, interns and PG that require practical education. As for Jipmer, since students from all parts of India are studying in the institution, it may frame its own protocol meeting safety norm, the order stated.

“The issue is that while in medical institutions across the country, classes from the first to third year have switched entirely to online mode, physical attendance for third year students is the norm only in Puducherry. The online mode for second year students is also not being followed in at least one private college,” a student said.

Exempted students

To a question on complaints regarding colleges asking exempted students to attend classes, the Lt. Governor at a press meet had said such an issue had not been brought to the notice of the Raj Nivas. She said a direction had already been issued asking colleges to go for online classes except for practical classes for final year students.

“But, we will certainly look into the issue,” Ms. Soundararajan said.

A spokesman for Pondicherry University said the order on online classes mode had been implemented across all 90 affiliate colleges.

A spokesman for a deemed medical college said the online mode had been fully implemented for first and second year students.

However, the first and second year students from other States had been given the option to remain in hostels and attend online classes from their rooms as they might find transportation difficult to return once offline classes resumed, he said.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 9:30:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/medical-students-in-puducherry-colleges-concerned-over-covid-19-safety-norms/article34296992.ece

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