Omicron: How prepared are Chennai’s colleges? – Times of India

Chennai News

Picture used for representational purpose

CHENNAI: Some colleges want to advance physical mode exams to December, some wish to defer the return of first year students on campus while other colleges in the city want to wait and watch. These are some of the suggestions put forward by city colleges to face the new variant omicron.
Even as the world is gripped by fresh concerns over the detection of the new variant, colleges in the city are likely to bring more students to campuses from this week to conduct physical classes and revision tests.
The opposition to physical mode exams by students forced the state government to postpone semester exams and order physical classes for all students.
In the light of the new variant, colleges said they want to prioritise final year students, who will move out by June.
“If semester exams for final year students are completed in December, we can stay relaxed. But postponing exams after January 20 will delay their onboarding by at least two to three months,” said R M Kishore, vice-chairman of RMK Engineering College. He said the decision will help reduce crowding on campus too.
Paul Wilson, principal of Madras Christian College, said the higher education department should give priority in conducting physical mode exams for final year students. “The exams can be conducted in a staggered manner and start with final year students. If things are well under control, then the physical mode exams should be conducted for second and first year students, he said.
S Vaidhyasubramaniam, vice-chancellor of Sastra, wants to defer the return of first year students till February 2022. “It would be a good idea to allow first year students to return to campus from the first week of February 2022. The exams for final year students would be over by then and more students would be vaccinated too,” he said.
Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science pro-vice-chancellor RW Alexander Jesudasan said the institute would wait for two more weeks before taking a final call.
“As of now, the exams are scheduled from January 20. If we suddenly advance the exam, our outstation students will face issues,” he said
Loyola College had rescheduled the exams to January following the government’s order. “We have rescheduled the time-table after much difficulty, and changing it again will be an issue. We need to take a calculated risk. If conducting physical mode exams in January is not possible, then we can switch to online exams,” said principal Thomas Amirtham.
An official from the higher education department said there is no change in the exam schedule and conducting offline exams and classes for college students. “However, if needed, we will take a decision based on the health department’s advisory,” the official added.
Dr K Kolandaiswamy, former director of public health, said, there is no need to fear the new variant and the pandemic will slowly end only through new variants.