By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, January 11, 2021: Students in Odisha have finally something to smile as after a gap of over nine months, colleges and universities across Odisha on Monday reopened their classrooms. But it was limited to students of final year undergraduate and postgraduate courses and they had to observe strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.

The classroom teaching was suspended since March 2020.

Seats were arranged in a way to ensure all social distancing norms are followed, officials said.

“The classroom teaching resumed today for students of 2020-21 final year undergraduate and postgraduate courses of colleges and universities under the Higher Education department. The engineering institutes under the Skill Development and Technical Education department also reopened,” an official said.

The physical classes and research activities for PhD and M.Phil. students resumed on Mondya, sources said.

The government reopened educational institutes considering the improvement in COVID-19 situation in the state and the huge academic loss of students due to the pandemic.

Schools across the state reopened their classrooms on January 8 to students who would be appearing for their board examination, while physical classes at medical colleges resumed on December 1 last year.

The government also issued a guideline for the conduct of classroom teaching which should be held regularly to cover all chapters of the syllabus irrespective of coverage of some chapters by on-line mode.

“Whenever possible, the physical classroom teaching shall be recorded and shared with absentee students,” the guideline said, adding that the COVID-19 prevention protocols need to be followed.

It has been made mandatory for all the persons coming to colleges and varsities to wear facemasks. Social distancing should be maintained in classrooms and, if needed, crowded classes can be divided into batches and teaching hours in a day can be extended, the guideline said.

However, teachers, students and staff residing in active containment zone shall not come to their institutes, it said.

Hostels also reopened from January 10 only for 2020- 21 final year undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as PhD, M.Phil and other research scholars.

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