Physical classes for final year undergraduate and post-graduate students to resume in Odisha as the state government announced on Sunday that colleges and universities are slated to reopen on January 11. Teaching and research activities of Ph.D., M.Phil. and other research scholars will also start on the same day.
Higher Education department also notified that the final semester examinations for UG/PG courses will take place between June 16 and June 30, while penultimate semester exams will be held from March 16 to March 31.
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The government decided to reopen colleges and universities considering the improvement in COVID-19 situation in the state and the huge academic loss of students due to the pandemic situation. Classroom teaching has been suspended since March 2020.
“The State Public Universities and Government, as well as Non-Government Degree Colleges (coming under H.E. Department), are hereby directed to commence physical classroom teaching for students of 2020-21 Final Year UG/PG courses from 11-01-2021(Monday),” a Higher Education department notification said.
The government also issued a guideline for the conduct of classroom teaching which should be held in a regular manner to cover all chapters of the syllabus irrespective of coverage of some chapters by on-line mode.
Guidelines as follows:
- “Whenever possible, the physical classroom teaching shall be recorded and shared with absentee students,” the guideline said adding that COVID-19 prevention protocols need to be followed.
- It has been made mandatory for all the persons coming to colleges and varsities to wear facemasks. Social distancing should be maintained in classrooms and, if needed, crowded classes can be divided into batches and teaching hours in a day can be extended.
- However, teachers, students and staff residing in active containment zone shall not come to their institutes.
- Hostels will be opened from January 10 only for 2020- 21 final year UG/PG students as well as Ph.D., M.Phil. and other research scholars.
In order to compensate for the lost days, physical classes should be conducted on all days except the examination period, Sundays, January 26 (the Republic Day), February 16 (the Saraswati Puja) and April 1 (the Utkal Divas).
To this extent, the Common Holiday List-2021, communicated to all degree colleges by the higher education department is hereby superseded, the guideline said.
State Private Universities under the department may also consider to commence classroom teaching of final year UG/PG courses from January 11 by following this guideline to the extent applicable.
Schools to reopen on Jan 8
The state government also announced that schools will reopen for students of standards X and XII from January 8 and will follow the detailed standard operating procedure to be strictly implemented by the authorities, a senior official said.
However, hostels will not reopen now and the school buses will not be available for the students. The parents can make their own arrangements to take their wards to school, the official said. A maximum of 25 students will be allowed to attend one class and each student will have a specific seat in the class as is usually done during examinations.
Schools across Odisha are closed since March in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The school and mass education department has, however, been holding online classes. The students of standards X and XII will be given 100 days of classroom teaching before they appear in the annual examinations in May, the official said adding that classes will be held on Saturdays and Sundays too.
(With inputs from agencies)