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Karnataka: Medical students seek closure of in-person classes

January 8, 2022
Questions raised over differential treatment 
– Reshma Ravishanker

Urging the state government to be considerate about their lives as well amid the impending third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, medical and paramedical students forced to attend in-person classes are seeking that exemptions be made even for them. 

In an official announcement on Wednesday, revenue minister R Ashok had said that in the wake of the sudden surge in cases and spread of the Covid-19’s omicron variant, in-person classes were suspended for all school and college students except from classes 10-12, medical, nursing and paramedical students. 
However, two days after the decision was taken, students, in large numbers began requesting the chief minister and medical education minister to cancel all on-campus classes even for these groups. 
Directing the message at the minister for health and medical education, Dr K Sudhakar, Abhinav Gowda, one of the medical students sought that classes be suspended for the safety of students. 
“Sir please close medical colleges fast. Covid is spreading at a very fast rate. Do not put the lives of medical students at risk as we are more prone to get the infection as we deal with patients. We are also humans like the other students,” urged Abhinav Gowda, 
The state government which initially said that all engineering colleges would remain shut flip-flopped and asked all VTU affiliated colleges to continue in-person classes hours later. On Thursday and Friday, this decision lead to chaos on campus in various institutes. 
“Even though the positivity rate has crossed a 4% mark, the state government thinks it is appropriate to conduct on-campus classes for VTU students alone. So many left to their hometowns and are now forced to return after the government changed its decision. The travel itself is putting so many students at risk. Is it fair for them? Most students are unable to even return back because of the weekend curfew. Despite the situation being so uncertain, exams have been scheduled this week and the week after,” said Tanuja Kashyap, another student from an engineering college. 
A lecturer from one of the engineering colleges also sought to know on social media as to why teachers’ lives were not considered valuable. “You take a decision to conduct classes for students. This is for engineering students who can very well catch up with online education. When such hurried decisions are taken, are the lives of teachers even thought about? Interacting with hundreds at close quarters puts us also at a risk. When the corporate world can function online, who not us. Our students are not too young to be unable to catch up with online learning,” said Sumitra, a lecturer. 
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