CHENNAI: A day after 10 Anna University students tested positive for Covid-19, colleges across the city are worried. Classes are being conducted in person, and first year students - most of whom are below the age of 18 and unvaccinated - have also started coming to campus.
“Till now, we were cautious but not scared as no colleges in the city had reported any cluster. But since the Anna University incident, we have been worried. The emergence of the Omicron variant is worrisome in itself, and ensuring students wear masks on campus seems impossible,” said a lecturer at a city-based college.
“Students hardly wear masks, and hang out in groups during lunch breaks. It is really difficult to maintain social distancing and other Covid-19 protocols once the classes are over,” said S Senthil, principal of a private engineering college.
The colleges are also strongly pitching for vaccinating students below 18 years of age. “It is the need of the hour to vaccinate all college students as we cannot continue with online classes for ever. The first-year students are now at risk as they are unvaccinated,” said principal of Guru Nanak College.
Keeping in mind the current situation, many colleges are reconsidering their decision to call up first-year students for in-person classes. “Our first-year students were supposed to come to college from next week. But now, we are thinking of calling up only those who are vaccinated, and then to call the other students later in a staggered manner,” said a senior faculty member of MOP Vaishnav college in Chennai.
Even students are concerned about their career with the Covid reinfections on a rise. “If all students are not wearing masks properly, then definitely the infection will spread further and we will have to bear the consequences as our classes will be cancelled,” said Priya S, a student at Anna University.