All colleges, private and deemed universities in Maharashtra will remain closed until February 15 in view of the rising COVID cases in the state. The decision to discontinue all physical classes with immediate effect was announced today by the state higher and technical education minister, Uday Samant. The government will issue a government resolution (GR) to the effect soon.
The decision was taken after the minister held a high-level online meeting to discuss the on-ground situation across various districts in the state. The meeting was attended by officials from the education department, district collectors, divisional commissioners and thirteen vice-chancellors of non-agricultural universities.
The government has asked colleges, private and non-agricultural universities in the state to hold their examinations in the online format until February 15. Educational institutions have been asked to set up helplines to resolve students’ queries regarding exams. While universities have been asked to shut down hostel and residential services for instate students, they will have to continue to make arrangements for foreign or inter-state students residing with them currently. Only 50 percent of the teaching and non-teaching staff are to be allowed to be present at the universities during the period. Colleges and university officials are to ensure the staff is vaccinated.
Maharashtra has recorded the highest concentration of Corona and Omicron infections in the country. The state reported 18,466 cases of new COVID (Tuesday, January 4) and has 653 persons infected with the new Omicron variant. While the state’s health minister, Rajesh Tope has dismissed the possibility of a statewide lockdown currently, the government is keeping a close watch while allowing local municipalities to take a decision with regards to the need for closures.
With the number of active cases in Pune rising to 3950, the local administration has shut schools for classes I-VIII until January 30. The spike in the number of cases in the state has come mainly from Mumbai which registered 10860 new cases on Tuesday. Mumbai mayor, Kishori Pednekar warned Tuesday, as per the union government’s rules, the city administration might have to impose a lockdown if the daily COVID cases cross the 20,000 mark. The city’s municipal corporation has already closed physical schools for classes I-VIII until January 31.
Dr Meena Chintamaneni, Pro-Vice-Chancellor SVKM’s NMIMS University says “adhering to the recently announced guidelines on the closure of schools, colleges and other educational institutions because of rapidly increasing COVID-19 cases followed with a spike in Omicron variant across the country, NMIMS has decided to conduct all the classes via online mode starting from 6th January to 15th February 2022. Few programs where exams were going on and planned offline are postponed till further notice. University will make best efforts to hold examinations in online mode as per Government guidelines. As we step into this emerging third wave of the pandemic, NMIMS stands well prepared and future-ready to sail through this impending crisis.
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