Amid Covid-19 spike, IIT-D to students: ‘Safer to go home to family’

Amid rising cases of COVID-19, the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT-D) administration has written to research scholars and those students not involved in laboratory or project work, saying it would be “safer” if they “go home and be with their family”.

IIT-D Director V Ramgopal Rao told The Indian Express around 25 students on the campus have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last one month, and that the quarantine facility inside the campus was “small” and could accommodate “10 people at best”.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) too has ‘advised’ students to return home after the active COVID-19 cases on campus tripled over the last 10 days from 21 to 64.

In an email sent to all “Research Scholars and students not doing laboratory courses/projects”, IIT-D Deputy Director (Strategy & Planning) Ashok K Ganguli said a meeting was held with “key administrative personnel (part of the Covid Committee) and Director to review the alarming situation arising out of increasing Covid-19 cases in the country, Delhi as well as our campus”.

“Several students have tested positive today and several mess staff members have called in sick. The Gulmohar facility for home quarantine of students is full to capacity now. In addition, there are many cases amongst faculty and their family members as well as staff and their family members,” he wrote Friday.

“While the faculty members and staff members are isolating within their homes, this option is not available to hostel residents. As per Govt. regulation they have to be shifted to Govt. isolation centres anywhere in Delhi. These centres are also getting fast overwhelmed,” Ganguli said.

He added that the weekend curfew imposed by the Delhi government might get extended.

“In view of this very grim situation, the committee feels that it may be safer if the students can go home and be with their family. Accordingly, all students who want to go home are hereby allowed to do so. They may return as soon as the situation improves in Delhi. Please inform your hostel caretaker and supervisor before you leave. Travel safely. Day scholars are also encouraged to work from home as far as possible,” he wrote.

Ganguli said in the email that a “separate mail in a day or two” will be sent to “students doing courses/ projects (BTech / MTech/ MS(R)”.

On the need for the email, Rao said, “It’s only a precautionary measure. We have about 2,000 students on campus, and if they fall sick, they need to go to COVID isolation centres of the Delhi government, and we are told they are already struggling. As per rules, they can’t quarantine in hostels. Faculty and other residents can home quarantine, but students can’t quarantine in hostels.”

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