NEW DELHI: The HRD ministry on Saturday advised all educational institutions to let students who are still in hostels to stay put and take necessary precautions in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
"Students who are still in hostels, particularly foreign students, should be allowed to continue in their hostels and advised to take all necessary safe precaution," HRD Secretary Amit Khare said in a letter to the institutions.
The universities and colleges have been issuing advisories to students to leave for homes and not stay in hostels as classes have already been suspended in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, the HRD Ministry had directed that all exams in schools and colleges be postponed till March 31 and evaluation work be suspended.
The letter which has been sent to the University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) and other autonomous bodies under the ministry, also said that faculty members, researchers and non-teaching staff be permitted to work from home.
"The faculty members should utilise this period for academic activities such as development of online content, online teaching and online evaluation.
Preparing lesson plan and developing instructional material for the courses to be offered during next year or semester, writing articles and papers and preparing question banks, are among the activities which can be pursued during the period," Khare said.
While the teaching and non-teaching staff is required to be available on phone and email, the institutions have been directed to count the period as being on duty.
The HRD Ministry has also asked students to continue their learning by making full use of the available digital e-Learning platforms during the period the educational institutions are closed as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.
Novel coronavirus cases in India rose to 283 on Saturday after 60 fresh cases were reported in various parts of the country, the Union Health Ministry said.
The total includes 39 foreign nationals, including 17 from Italy, three from the Philippines, two from the UK, one each from Canada, Indonesia and Singapore.
It also includes four deaths reported from Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra.