Odisha college reopening: First day in college after nine months

BHUBANESWAR: It was a different atmosphere all together in the colleges and universities for final year students of undergraduate (UG), postgraduate (PG) and diploma courses during their first physical class held on Monday after a gap of more than nine months. Students wearing masks and sitting in a distance is a different experience than the pre-Covid time.

Like other colleges of the state, Rajdhani College here welcomed its students to the campus by following the Covid guidelines issued by the higher education department. Students have added another wardrobe ‘mask’ as their mandatory dress code like college uniform. A few students were seen wearing hand gloves as precautionary measure.

They were also applying sanitizer on hand before entering into classrooms one by one. It was not like hugging each other after returning from summer vacation, but taking calculative steps before assembling in front of the classroom or college. The furniture were arranged in such a way that students can maintain social distancing in the sanitized classroom.

Abinash Behera, final year UG student of botany honours of this college, said they could not sit together in group in the classroom like earlier due to social distancing rules. “I saw many of our college students are well aware about the situation and obey the rules fearing Covid. So we think several times before hugging a friend. We have to enquire whether the water hygiene or not before drinking it. It’s a different experience for us,” he added.

Some students were standing in the queue by maintaining social distancing before entering into the college library. “I am really feeling good after coming to the college after several months. We know it is tough to complete the course within the deadline, but we have to clear our subject doubts in the physical classes and prepare for the examination,” said Uma Shankar Patra, final year student of sociology department of Rajdhani College.

The botany class has 32 students, but only 15 students were there in the class on Monday. Like this college in the capital, most of the colleges and universities witnessed thin attendance on the first day of the physical class. “We have 64 students in our class, but only 20 of them have attended on the first day. It was a different experience for us,” said Sourabh Singh, PG final year student of philosophy department, Utkal University.

Research work of MPhil and PhD scholars have also started in the campus. An 82-year-old PhD scholar of philosophy Narayan Sahu, who has visited the university campus on Monday, said he got amazed by the fighting spirit of the mankind during the pandemic. “The normalcy has returned to the campus and I have come to submit my PhD thesis,” said the former two-time MLA and a former MP.

Higher education minister Arun Kumar Sahoo visited some colleges in the city and reviewed the preparation of the higher educational institutions on the first day of commencement of classes. “In the first phase, we have started physical classes for final students of UG and PG courses. Covid guidelines are being followed by the colleges and universities. Our institutions have completed a large portion of syllabus through online classes. They will revise the courses and complete the rest of the chapters before the examinations begin,” he added.

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