RE-OPENING OF COLLEGES AND TECHNICAL INSTITUTIONS FOR CONDUCT OF REGULAR CLASSES FORSTUDENTS
The State Government has permitted the re-opening of the campuses and holding of regular classes in all the colleges and technical institutions in Nagaland with effect from 26th July 2021 subject to all the teachers and non-teaching staff having been fully vaccinated (taken both the doses) against COVID-19, or having taken the 1st (first) dose of vaccine against COVID- 19 and at least 15 (fifteen) days have passed since taking the 1st (first dose);
In view of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic situation, there is a need for taking further measures for preventing and containing the spread of COVID-19 while re-opening of the colleges and technical institutes for the safety of the students, faculty members, non-teaching staff and all others concerned;
In this connection the State Government has issued the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the reopening of colleges and technical institutes with up to 50% attendance, on the preventive measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, as annexed, for strict compliance by all concerned throughout the State of Nagaland.
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE (SOP) FOR RE-OPENING OF COLLEGES AND TECHNICAL INSTITUTIONS ON THE PREVENTIVE MEASURES TO CONTAIN THE SPREAD OF COVID-19
This Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) outlines the various generic precautionary measures to be adopted in addition to specific measures to be taken to prevent spread of COVID-19 when universities, colleges and technical institutions resume normal functioning for students.
2. Maximum allowed percentage of attendance of the students in any class shall be 50%, and requirement of mandatory vaccination;
- All the teachers and non-teaching staff should be fully vaccinated (taken both the doses) against COVID-19, or should have taken the 1st (first) dose of vaccine against COVID-19 with at least 15 (fifteen) days having passed since taking the 1st (first dose).
- The maximum allowed percentage of attendance of the students in any class on a particular day shall be 50%.
- The colleges, technical institutions planning to re-open shall submit the list of all the teaching/ non-teaching staff along with the details of the vaccination status, as well as all the arrangements being made for ensuring adherence to the provisions of this SOP to the respective District Task Force (DTF). The DTF may carry out verifications as considered necessary, and on being satisfied of the overall preparedness of the college/technical institution concerned, may grant permission for the re-opening of the college/technical institution.
- The colleges/technical institutions shall continue with the present system of online teaching while making preparations and awaiting clearance from the DTF for reopening for conduct of regular classes.
3. Generic Preventive Measures/ COVID Appropriate Behavior
The following public health measures shall be followed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 by all (faculty members, employees, students and visitors) in these places at all times:
- Physical distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed as far as feasible.
- Use of face covers/ masks to be made mandatory.
- Frequent hand washing with soap (for at least 40-60 seconds) even when hands are not visibly dirty. Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (for at least 20 seconds) can be done wherever feasible.
- Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves strict practice of covering one's mouth and nose while coughing/ sneezing with a tissue/ handkerchief/ flexed elbow and disposing of used tissues properly.
- Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest.
- Spitting shall be strictly prohibited.
- Installation & use of Aarogya Setu App shall be advised wherever feasible.
- In addition to all of the above, students who have not taken any dose of vaccine against COVID-19, and if they are 18 years of age and above will be advised to get vaccinated at the earliest.
4. Measures Required before Re-opening of Campuses
As the colleges and technical institutions are likely to face a number of issues at the time of reopening, they will be required to plan in advance. Some of the measures, which the institutions may have to take prior to re-opening, are given below:
- The directions, instructions, guidelines and orders issued by the State Government regarding safety and health in view of COVID-19 must be fully abided by the higher education institutions.
- The Colleges and Technical Institutions shall be allowed to open only if they are outside the containment zones. Further, students and staff living in containment zones will not be allowed to attend these institutions. Students and staff shall also be advised not to visit areas falling within containment zones.
- The faculty, staff and students of the university, college and technical institutions should be encouraged to download 'Aarogya Setu App'.
- The institutions should be ready with a plan for handling the inflow of students, faculty and staff in the campus, monitoring disinfecting measures, safety and health conditions, screening and detecting the infected persons, containment measures to prevent the spread of the virus in the campus, and also alternative plan(s), in case the campus needs to be closed again due to spread of the virus in campus or in the surrounding area(s) in near future.
- Universities and colleges may plan opening the campuses in phases, with such activities where they can easily adhere to social distancing, use of face masks and other protective measures. This may include administrative offices, research laboratories and libraries etc.
- Thereafter, students of all research programmes and post-graduate students in science & technology programmes may join as the number of such students is comparatively less and norms of physical distancing and preventive measures can be easily enforced.
- Further, final year students may also be allowed to join for academic and placement purposes, as per the decision of the head of the institution. However, for (i), (ii) and (iii) above, it should be ensured that not more than 50% of the total students should be present at any point of time and necessary guidelines/ protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are observed.
- For the programmes other than those mentioned in paras 5 (i), 5 (ii) and 5(iii) above, online/ distance learning shall continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and shall be encouraged.
- However, if required, students may visit their respective departments in a small number for consultation with the faculty members, after seeking prior appointments to avoid crowding, while maintaining physical distancing norms and other safety protocols.
- Some students may opt not to attend classes and prefer to study online while staying at home. Institutions may provide online study material and access to resources to such students for teaching-learning.
6. Institutional Planning
Institutional planning is the key for the successful reopening of the campuses and smooth conduct of the teaching-learning process during these difficult times. The colleges will, therefore, be required to develop their plans very cautiously for reopening of their campuses and this planning has to be done well in advance. The plan may, inter-alia include the following points;
- Institutions should prepare details of opening the campus in a phased manner with a complete roster for all departments and batches of students in different programmes.
- The institutions must ensure appropriate sanitization and disinfection process and procedures.
- Instead of biometric attendance, alternate arrangements for contactless attendance shall be made for everyone by the management.
- It should be made mandatory for the Teachers, Officers, Staff and Students to wear the ID cards.
- The faculty, student and staff should be screened regularly to protect and avoid infecting one another.
- All preventive measures, preparedness and necessary support system to deal with the COVID -19 positive cases should be monitored and reported to local authorities on a day to day basis.
- Teaching hours in a day may be extended, as per requirements of the institution.
- Six-day schedule may be followed so that classes can be conducted in phases and the seating arrangement be made keeping in view the requirements of physical distancing.
- Universities and colleges may consider reducing the class size and break them in multiple sections to maintain physical distancing during the classes.
- Depending on the availability of space in class rooms or learning sites, up to 50% students may be allowed on a rotation basis to attend the classes.
- Faculty should be trained for online teaching-learning practices.
- The visitors should either not be allowed at all or their entry should be drastically restricted. The conditions of the entry for visitors should be strictly laid down and displayed at the entry point(s). Complete contact details of the visitors should be maintained along with the names of persons whom he/ she meet.
- There should be adequate isolation arrangements for those having symptoms and also for those who test positive for COVID-19 (however the two need to be kept separately), either at the level of the institution or in collaboration with the Government authorities.
7. Safety Measures at Entry/ Exit Point(s)
- Adequate arrangements of thermal scanners, sanitizers, face masks should be made available at all entry and exit points, including the reception area.
- Pulse oximeter to check oxygen saturation levels of any symptomatic person must be arranged.
- Crowding must be avoided at entry/ exit points. Staggered timings of entry and exit with limited strength for different programmes should be followed.
- For ensuring queue management, inside and outside the premises, specific markings on the floor with a gap of 6 feet may be made and be adhered to.
- In case the institution has more than one gate for entry/ exit, all the gates should be used, with adequate care, to avoid crowding.
- Monitoring of the entry and exit of the students should be done.
- Screening of students, faculty and staff, wearing of face covers/ mask, sanitizing of hands etc. must be ensured at all entry points.
- Those having symptoms of fever, cough or difficulty in breathing should not be allowed to enter.
8. Safety Measures during Working Hours
8.1 Classrooms and other Learning Sites
- Proper sanitization at all learning sites should be ensured. Cleaning and regular
- disinfection (using 1% sodium hypochlorite) of frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, elevator buttons, hand rails, chairs, benches, washroom fixtures, etc.) to be made mandatory in all class rooms, laboratories, lockers, parking areas, other common areas etc. before the beginning of classes and at the end of the day. Teaching materials, computers, laptops, and printers shall be regularly disinfected with 70% alcohol swipe.
- Sitting places in classes, laboratories, computer labs, libraries etc. should be clearly marked, keeping in view the norms of physical distancing. At least one seat should be left vacant between two seats.
- Wearing face cover/ mask is a must at all times and at all places inside the campus.
8.2 Inside the Campus
- Cultural activities, meeting etc. may be avoided. However, extracurricular and sports activities may be allowed where physical distancing is feasible and is in accordance with the guidelines issued by the State Government under Disaster Management Act, 2005 from time to time.
- Adequate arrangements for safe drinking water should be made on the campus.
- Hand washing stations with facilities of liquid soap should be created so that every student can wash her/ his hands frequently.
- Regular and sufficient supply of face covers/ masks, heavy duty gloves, disinfecting material, sanitizer, soaps etc. to sanitation workers should be ensured.
- Wearing of face cover/ mask by all students and staff should be ensured.
- Proper cleanliness should be maintained inside the entire campus.
- Adequate arrangements should be made for sanitizing the entire campus, including administrative and academic buildings, classrooms, laboratories, libraries, common rooms, toilets, water stations, furniture, learning material, teaching aids, sports equipment, computers
- Physical distancing should be maintained at all places and crowding must not be allowed at any place under any circumstances.
- An adequate supply of water in toilets and for hand-washing should be ensured.
- Proper sanitization of buses, other transport and official vehicles of the institution should be done and strict physical distancing should be ensured for the passengers.
- Spitting in the campus must be made a punishable offence.
- Dustbins must be cleaned and covered properly.
- Dustbin for collection of used facemasks, personal protective equipment, hand gloves and their disposals should be ensured as per safety norms. Provision for proper disposal of used personal protection items and general waste should be followed in accordance with CPCB guidelines (available at: https://cpcb.nic.in/uploads/Projects/Bio-Medical-Waste/BMW- GUIDELINES-COVID_l.pdf).
- For air-conditioning/ ventilation, the guidelines of CPWD shall be followed which emphasizes that the temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-3 0°C, relative humidity should be in the range of 40-70%, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be there.
- Gymnasiums shall continue to remain closed.
- Swimming Pools (wherever applicable) shall remain closed.
- All employees who are at higher risk, i.e., older employees, pregnant employees and employees who have underlying medical conditions to take extra precautions. They should preferably not be exposed to any front-line work requiring direct contact with the students.
- Hostels may be opened only in such cases where it is necessary while strictly observing the safety and health preventive measures. However, the sharing of rooms may not be allowed in hostels. Symptomatic students should not be permitted to stay in the hostels under any circumstances.
- Since residential students may be coming from different locations, if they are not fully vaccinated (taken both the doses) against COVID-19, or not taken the 1st (first) dose of vaccine against COVID-19 with at least 15 (fifteen) days having passed since taking the 1st (first dose), they shall bring COVID-19 negative test report through RT-PCR / True- NAT, and self-monitor their health for 14(fourteen) days.
- There should be no crowding in hostel areas where students live in close proximity and share common facilities and utilities. Hence, their numbers need to be limited appropriately to avoid crowding. Also, hostel students should be called in phases.
- Thermal Screening of all resident students should be ensured.
- Pulse oximeter to check oxygen saturation levels of any symptomatic person must be arranged.
- They will be referred to the nearest COVID treatment facility for clinical assessment and treatment.
- Density in dining halls, common rooms, playing areas should be limited, keeping in view the requirement of physical distancing.
- Hygiene conditions should be regularly monitored in kitchens, dining halls, bathrooms and toilets etc.
- Cleanliness is to be maintained in dining areas. Meals should be served in small batches, avoiding over-crowding. Take away options should be available for students and staff.
- It must be ensured that the meals are freshly cooked. A senior staff should monitor the same.
- Utensils should be properly cleaned.
- Wearing of face covers/ masks and proper sanitization of hands of the staff engaged for the preparation and distribution of meals should be ensured.
- Resident students and staff should avoid or limit visiting the markets. As far as possible, essential items may be made available within the campus.
- Hostels may define the number of students in dining halls at any point in time. Mess timings may be increased to avoid overcrowding.
- In view of the likelihood of restrictions in some colleges/technical institutions, on the number of students who may be provided hostel facility on account of non-sharing of rooms and the need for maintaining adequate physical distancing, the online mode of teaching shall be continued in such colleges/technical institutions for those students who are unable to stay in the hostels.
10. Regular Monitoring of Health
- Every institution should regularly monitor the health of its students, faculty, and staff.
- Faculty, staff and students should also be sensitized on self-monitoring of their health.
- Faculty, Staff and students should submit self-disclosure, if any of their family members have been infected/ availed treatment for COVID-19.
11. Measures for Containment
- As soon as a student, faculty or staff is detected COVID-19 positive, such person should be immediately isolated as per the directive/ advisory of the Government. Room-mates and close contacts should be quarantined and symptomatic ones to be immediately tested.
- Colleges should have a ready plan to provide healthcare support to those resident students and staff who test positive and are isolated.
- The guidelines restricting social and physical contacts and mobility in such parts of residential places in the campus, where positive cases have been found, should be strictly enforced. Measures like holding no class, not leaving the rooms for hostellers, wherever applicable, no take away arrangement of food from mess etc. may be enforced, depending upon the severity of the situation.
- Universities and colleges should also plan in advance, in case shut down are ordered by the Government due to outbreak in campus or the surrounding region.
12. Sensitization of Students, Teachers and Staff
- Awareness programmes regarding COVID-19 as to how the infection spreads, common symptoms, and precautions and measures required to contain its spread should be carried out.
- Awareness programme regarding the need for getting vaccinated against COVID-19 by all those who are 18 years and above should be carried out.
- Maintaining hygiene, e.g., how to wash hands, how to cough or sneeze into a tissue or elbow, avoid touching of face, eyes, mouth and nose should be regularly told to the students and the staff.
- The necessity of physical distancing, wearing face covers/ masks, hygiene etc. should be brought home to all.
- Activities to stay fit, physically and mentally, should be encouraged like doing exercises, yoga, breathing exercises, meditation, etc.
- To improve resilience and mental health, students should be encouraged to share their feelings with friends, teachers and parents, remain positive, grateful, helpful, have focussed approach, take a break from work, eat healthy and sleep timely etc.
- Eating healthy food and fruits, avoiding junk food, adopting ways to increase immunity etc. should be encouraged.
- Students should be told to regularly sanitize their laptops, audio, video and other media accessories.
- Factual information regarding COVID-19 and consequences of infection, without making them stressed or fearful, should be disseminated.
- Posters and stickers should be pasted at appropriate places in the campus to create awareness about the risk of infection from Coronavirus.
- All support and facilities should be provided to persons with disabilities (Divyangjan).
- No discrimination based on community, creed or gender should be allowed to take place.
- Sharing of books, other learning material and eatables be discouraged.
13. Head of the Institution
- Principals may get Standard Operating Procedures(SOPs) worked out in view of COVID-19 outbreak, in accordance with the Government orders and guidelines.
- A detailed institutional plan which may, inter alia, include sanitization, safety and health measures should be prepared and kept ready, before reopening of campus. Proper implementation of the institutional plan should be ensured and regular monitoring should be done with the help of faculty and the staff.
- Tie-ups may be established with nearby hospitals, health centres, NGOs, health experts for help and support in fighting COVID-19.
- A plan for all academic activities, i.e., the academic calendar, teaching-learning modes, examinations, evaluation etc. should be kept ready well in advance.
- A Task Group should be created to handle varied situations and issues related to the COVID- 19 pandemic. Such Task Group may consist of senior persons from faculty and staff, students, volunteers from communities, NGOs, health organisations and Government officials etc. as the case may be.
- Teachers, students and staff should be made aware of all relevant plans and activities on the campus
- Teachers should make themselves fully aware of institutional plans and Standard Operating Procedures.
- Every teacher should prepare a detailed teaching plan for the subjects taught by him/ her, including time table, class size, modes of delivery, assignments, theory, practical, continuous evaluation, end- semester evaluation etc.
- Teachers should keep themselves updated with the latest teaching-learning methods and availability of e-resources.
- Teachers should make the students aware of the COVID-19 related situation, precautions and steps to be taken to stay safe and healthy.
- Teachers should monitor and keep track of the physical and mental health of their students.
- The parents should ensure that their children observe safety norms at home and whenever they go out.
- Parents may encourage their children, if they are above 18 years of age to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Parents should not allow their children to go out, if they are not feeling well.
- Parents may be advised that the 'Aarogya Setu App' has been downloaded by their children.
- Parents should sensitize them of healthy food habits and measures to increase immunity.
- Parents should ask them to do exercise, yoga, meditation and breathing exercises to keep them mentally and physically fit.
- May get themselves vaccinated against COVID-19 if above 18 years of age.
- Self-discipline is most important to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic through social distancing and maintaining hygienic condition.
- All students should wear face covers/ masks and take all preventive measures.
- May consider installing 'Aarogya Setu App' in the mobile.
- It is important for the students to be physically and mentally fit to handle any exigencies. By remaining fit, they can take care of others also.
- The students must inculcate activities that will increase immunity-boosting mechanism which may include exercise, yoga, eating fresh fruits and healthy food (avoid fast food), sleep timely.
- Discrimination of fellow students in respect of whom there is a history of COVID-19 disease in the family be avoided.
- Give support to your friends under stress due to COVID-19 pandemic.
- Students should follow the guidelines, advisories and instructions issued by the Government authorities as well as by the universities and colleges regarding health and safety measures in view of COVID-19 pandemic.
17 Institutions may adopt and implement the above guidelines in a transparent manner by making modifications to deal with particular situations except in respect of those guidelines that are mandatory.
18. Any violation of the provisions of the above SOP will attract action as per legal provisions against the management of the institution, faculty, employee, student or visitor, as the case may be.