Educational institutes become hub of Covid-19 clusters in KarnatakaEducational institutes become hub of Covid-19 clusters in Karnataka
on Mar 24, 2021 More than 5,800 students have been placed in quarantine and active surveillance after a Covid-19 cluster was reported in Udupi district’s Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT). While Karnataka has not announced any lockdown, for the students of the MIT, a lockdown is in place after 188 acres campus was declared a containment zone. MIT is the latest in a list of colleges, schools and hostels hit by the pandemic in the state. Officials say that educational institutions have been one of the most vulnerable sections with several institutions in Bengaluru reporting Covid-19 clusters in the last two months. Sambhram College of Management Studies, Agragami College, Manjushree Nursing College, two government high schools, Arya Eediga Girls Hostel and Inspire Livesuit PG were some of the institutions in the state where the clusters were reported. The response from the educational institutions has been different since the government has not decided on whether institutes should be closed once again. While institutes like MIT, which has a large number of cases, were declared containment zones, Maharani Cluster University in Bengaluru, which reported two cases, decided to send residents back home. On Saturday, after the student and staff member tested positive for the virus, Maharani Cluster University’s vice-chancellor Gomathi Devi asked first and third semester students residing in hostels to return home. Meanwhile, Bangalore University has asked students, who live 40 kilometres from their campus, to return home if possible. However, outstation students have been allowed to stay back. In the case of Manipal University, with more than 5,000 students in quarantine, offline classes have been suspended. Students have been asked to stay in their rooms, said Narayana Sabhahit, registrar of MIT. “We are continuing online classes wherever possible. For those who have tested positive, a separate section has been arranged in the hostel where doctors will be monitoring them. For the rest of the students, movement within the campus has been restricted,” he said. However, the process has not been easy. A parent of an MIT student who tested positive said his son was moved to a separate hotel floor only two days after his test results came. “There was no clarity on whether he would get treatment or checkups during this time. It was only after he was moved to the new ward, a doctor checked him,” the father said on condition of anonymity. Sabhahit said that since there was a spike in the number of cases, it took time for the institute to make the arrangements. While some institutions are struggling with the implementation of the containment rules, institutes that witnessed clusters but that are no longer containment zones are slowly trying to restart operations. An administration officer of Agragami college, which was declared a containment zone on February 27, said the restrictions were lifted in the second week of March. “We are now preparing to conduct examinations in the college. We are taking all precautions and we have informed the authorities as well. All students who will appear for the examination will have to produce a negative test report,” the college officials said. Even as Covid-19 cases in educational institutions are becoming a matter of concern for the health officials, no decision on closing the institutions have been taken by the government. A senior health department official said the government will decide on closing educational institutions after consulting the education department and other concerned officials.
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