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Regular classes only for final-year Bengaluru varsity students from November 17

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BENGALURU: Bangalore University has directed all its affiliate colleges to resume regular classes only for final-year students from next week. First and second-year students will have to wait for a few more days — perhaps a month — before joining their seniors on campus. Until then, colleges have been asked to continue with online classes.
In a meeting on Wednesday with principals of all colleges affiliated to the varsity, vice-chancellor KR Venugopal said first and second-year students can be brought in after 15-30 days depending on the situation.

“Let us first stabilise final- year students,” he said after the meeting. “They will have practical classes in batches in the initial days. We will continue with online classes for first and second-year students and bring them in after 15-30 days. We have discussed issues of space in classrooms and labs.”
The meeting was held to brief principals on standard operating procedures to be followed once colleges reopen on November 17. The VC said students should not be compelled to attend regular classes and must be given the option of attending online or regular classes.

“Let us first stabilize final- year students,” he said after the meeting. “They will have practical classes in batches in the initial days. We will continue with online classes for first and second-year students and bring them in after 15-30 days. We have discussed issues of space in classrooms and labs.”
The meeting was held to brief principals on standard operating procedures to be followed once colleges reopen on November 17. The VC said students should not be compelled to attend regular classes and must be given the option of attending online or regular classes.

However, college principals raised concerns and pointed out that conducting both online and regular classes simultaneously will be a massive challenge. “It’s going to burden teachers,” said a principal. “We have to conduct classes in batches to ensure social distancing is maintained. This means imparting the same lessons twice or thrice. Along with that, teachers have to send recorded videos. It’s going to be very taxing.”

However, Venugopal was unfazed. “The best way is to live stream the classes if you have the facility,” he reportedly told the gathering. “Otherwise you have to record and send lessons. No student can be left out… It will be extra work for lecturers, but these are extraordinary times and we have to work harder.”

He went on to add, “There are no specific timings colleges have to adhere to. They can start classes as early as 7am and take extra hours in the evening as classes will be conducted in batches.” He suggested some part of the syllabus has to be assigned as homework so that portions can be quickly covered.

As part of Covid safety measures, students have to bring their own food and water and a class leader should be appointed to ensure Covid protocols are followed in classes. Each college has to set up a task force. In case a student or teacher tests positive for the virus, the classroom will be shut for a day during which it will be santised. Teachers have to use face masks and shields.

There is no plan to reduce students’ fees at the moment. On the other hand, if students are unable to pay exam fees, managements have to chip in, the VC said. The university also made it clear that it’s not in a position to reduce affiliation fees for colleges because of a fund crunch.
Colleges also have to mandatorily set up yoga centres and staff have been asked to ensure the mental wellbeing of students. The last date for admissions can be extended, Venugopal said.

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