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Colleges in Bengaluru to conduct Covid-19 tests on campus

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BENGALURU: Colleges in Bengaluru are preparing to hold regular classes for the first time since March when the pandemic hit, with some arranging for Covid-19 tests to be conducted on campus. They have invited students and faculty members to get tested there ahead of Tuesday’s reopening.

“Testing on our campus has been going on since Thursday,” said Fr Victor Lobo, principal, St Joseph’s College. “On Friday, over 900 students took the test arranged by BBMP on our campus. About 20 Palike officials are involved. Students have the option of undergoing the test on campus or getting a Covid negative certificate from elsewhere.”
Fr Joy D Souza, principal, Darshan College on Mysuru Road, said 174 of their 300 students were tested on campus on Friday. “We contacted BBMP on Thursday evening and they consented to be on campus. We sent messages to all students and they responded quickly. Students have to bring a negative certificate and parents’ consent letter when the college reopens on November 17,” he said.
The state government has mandated Covid negative RT-PCR certificates from all students who want to attend regular classes. Colleges have begun sanitizing campuses, displaying Covid etiquette posters, forming task forces, conducting surveys to find out how many students will turn up, and drawing up formats of consent letter students will have to submit.

Meanwhile, some colleges say students are not yet ready to come to campuses and the response can be measured only by late next week. “We will do what the government has asked us to do and wait. Many parents are unwilling to send their children to campus,” said BG Satyaprasad, president, Bangalore University B Schools Directors’/Principals’ Association.
“On the reopening day, attendance could below,” admitted Macquillin C Moses, principal, HKES Sree Veerendra Patil Degree College. “We expect only around 20%-30% students to attend. However, as time progresses and colleges start functioning at full steam, more students are likely to turn up. Even now, students want to come but are hesitant.”
Nagesh Rao, principal, East-West College of Management, said that while local students would not have a problem attending, it could be a problem for outstation students. “Outstation students are wary as they are worried about the risks involved in travel and accommodation. We are hoping for 30-40% attendance initially,” Rao said.

Some colleges plan to continue with online classes if numbers for regular classes are low. Bangalore University has asked affiliated colleges to reopen for final year students first and later for first and second-year students, making for a staggered approach.

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