Following the demand of Vice-Chancellors (VCs) to reopen offline lectures for degree colleges and universities from February 1, 2021, professors have appealed to university heads to initiate safety and precautionary measures ahead of reopening. Teachers said offline lectures should first begin only for practical and laboratory classes.
On Friday, VCs of public universities across Maharashtra demanded permission from the Governor of Maharashtra stating that given permission, they are willing to start colleges as early as from February 1, 2020. Following this, professors of degree colleges said Covid-19 SOPs, safety, and precautionary measures should be implemented thoroughly because there are high risks involved once offline lectures resume.
Gayatri Kamlakar, a professor said, "There are high chances of the spread of Covid-19 infection because at the university and degree college-level professors and students interact with each other often. Colleges should implement Covid-19 safety protocols at the ground level, initiate body temperature checks and free RT-PCR tests for all staff."
In addition, teachers said the reopening of offline lectures of degree colleges and universities can be delayed because almost all students have access to virtual classes. Manjeet Singh, a professor of a Borivali college said, "Students in degree colleges and universities have access to online classes through smartphones and internet connection. Reopening offline lectures can be deferred because currently, academic learning is not being hampered."
Instead of rushing into reopening offline lectures for teachers and universities, colleges should first complete RT-PCR tests of all staff, said Neeraj Desai, a professor of a Bandra college. Desai said, "RT-PCR tests of all staff should be done prior to reopening of colleges offline. Also, social distancing measures should be strictly implemented on college campus."