Kerala

Offline classes | Kerala students bring cheers after a long COVID-induced gap

A scene from University College in the State capital when colleges reopened on Monday.  

Hundreds of excited students brought cheer to the desolate college campuses across the State when they returned for offline classes after a long COVID-19-induced gap on Monday morning.

Students began trickling into colleges early, leaving enough time to meet up with friends and renew bondage. They were allowed inside the gates after a check of body temperatures using thermal scanners and sanitising hands. Their vaccination certificates too were inspected to ensure that they had received at least one dose of vaccination.

Children with symptoms or those on the contact list of COVID-19 patients or people in quarantine have been asked not to turn up for the classes.

University College was all geared up to welcome nearly 950 final-year post-graduate and final year under-graduate students. In courses with large gallery hall classrooms, all students turned up. In others, departments decided how to split students into batches and take classes in separate rooms. Departments with fewer students such as Geology and Statistics or post-graduate departments were also able to start classes for all of them, Principal Gangadhar K. said. The college psychology department would also be asked to look into providing counselling to students, he said.

Minister for Higher Education R. Bindu visited Government College for Women, Vazhuthacaud, in the morning to interact with students. Reiterating the government’s commitment to the safety of students turning up for in-person classes in colleges, the Minister said coordination of all government departments had been ensured towards this end.

With classes under way in earnest, only a few students huddled together or flocked to the college canteen to grab a bite. Principal Chandini Sam S. P. said students had been given prior directions through their teachers about the guidelines. Classrooms had been cleaned and sanitised, while Corporation and NSS and NCC volunteers helped tidy up the campus. The college had opted for the 9.30 a.m. slot for the classes. Not only students but teaching and non-teaching staff also were happy to see the campus come back to life, she said.

A thrilled trio of Maria Tharakan, Ekta Benny, and Thahira Rahman, final-year B.Sc. psychology students at Government College for Women, said they felt as if they were setting foot on campus for the first time ever. “We are very glad to see our friends and teachers. Also, offline classes are more effective, and this being the final year, the months ahead are very crucial for us,” said Maria.

Sitting next to a friend has become something to worry about owing to COVID-19, and this was very difficult to process for students. However, they needed to get accustomed to a new mode of friendship over the next few months, Ekta said.

Thahira felt following protocols would be tough, especially as holding hands or hugging were a natural mode of expressing affection for many, and the pandemic had put paid to it. However, sanitisers would allow them some leeway.

Juggling multiple semesters simultaneously had been extremely stressful, and without friends at hand, many students felt very out of sorts. However, they would try to make the most of the remaining months to study hard and celebrate all events they could on campus, they said.


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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 1:19:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/offline-classes-kerala-students-bring-cheers-after-a-long-covid-induced-gap/article36819368.ece

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