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Institutions for higher education in Barak Valley set to open with uncertainty as vaccination remains slow

On 1st September’ 2021, Govt of Assam took out a fresh new SOP keeping the present pandemic situation in mind. With a lot of other relaxations, higher educational institutes of the state too got the permission to restart offline classes for a group of students who would at least be vaccinated with a single dose though the SOP also reads that institutions must conduct vaccination camps for their students before beginning with the classes. We reached out to some Principals of some very reputed educational institutes of the valley in a conquest to know how they are preparing to welcome back students in classes after this long.

Purnadeep Chanda, the Principal of Ramanuj Gupta Higher Secondary School, Silchar informed us that they are preparing to restart classes for the students of Higher Secondary 2nd year by the 2nd week of September. “Though we have a very small amount of students in this group who are above 18 and are eligible for a vaccine shot, all our staff is 100% vaccinated and strict action was taken by the administration against those who were reluctant to get vaccinated” said Chanda. He also told us that all covid appropriate behaviour will be strictly followed and practiced.

The Principal of Women’s college, Silchar, Monoj Kumar Paul states, “We shall follow all protocols given in the SOP and strictly adhere to all proper practices. We too are hoping to reopen classes by the second week and all of our staff are vaccinated too.” Though no confirmation about a vaccination camp for the students is yet confirmed, the Principal informs us that they are awaiting a notification from the government. Another institution of importance, Guru Charan College, Silchar too stands at a point of confusion where they are planning to open classes but the vaccination camps for the students remain unsure. Principal of the G.C. College, Silchar tells us that, “We will strictly adhere to all covid protocols and make wearing masks mandatory at all times. Our staff is 100% vaccinated and we are eager to welcome the students back.” It remains to be seen how these institutions get all of the eligible students vaccinated with at least one vaccine before they can start attending classes, because as of now there isn’t a plan for it.

Some good news comes in from Badarpur where the Principal of Nabinchandra College, Badarpur, Dr. Mortuja Hussain informs us, “We have been running vaccination camps at our campus meant only for our students since last Saturday. We have a target to vaccinate all our students with at least one vaccine dose by the 4th of this month so that we can begin classes by the next week for everyone. All our staff has already been vaccinated and we are making sure that all eligible students get to do classes on all working days. We have set up tunnel sanitizers and made our campus at par with the covid requirements, and strict covid appropriate behaviour will be maintained by all.”

When asked about how the vaccination camp for students was organised at his campus, he replied, “The Head of Vaccination drive in Badarpur, Dr. M. Rahman was very helpful in this regard. He himself called me up when he got to know that we were planning for a vaccination camp and asked me to just send him a digital request for the same and it was done. Though he said that the State Departments don’t have enough skilled manpower and gadgets to run more vaccination camps, we made sure that all kinds of cooperation was extended and our students are working in the vaccination camps helping their fellow mates getting jabbed.” As students get ready to get back to their campuses, it remains on the concerned authorities to get them vaccinated before they enter classes. And, the story of N.C. College, Badarpur shows us that it’s very much possible!

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